When asked to describe a word that he associates with his work with Up2Us Sports and America SCORES, Coach Gari Harvey paused for a moment before responding, “inspiring.”
If you know Hemon, working anywhere other than Baltimore was never an option; he sees far too much of himself in these children to go elsewhere. Hemon was born in a refugee camp in Nepal to Bhutanese parents. In 2008, he arrived in Baltimore as a twelve-year-old who couldn’t speak English, but was determined to succeed in his new country.
To the kids she coaches Marnisha goes exclusively by ‘Coach Super.’ The moniker doubling as a nickname and the perfect embodiment of her life and commitment to young people. Hearing Marnisha’s story, her nickname becomes less surprising. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio she grew up in a religious family where both of her parents worked, she went to school, played little league baseball and other sports here and there.
Angel Fulgencio grew up in Oxnard, California just a few hours north of Los Angeles. He is the son of an immigrant family whose parents migrated from Mexico. Growing up, his parents worked hard in the strawberry fields in Oxnard to provide for the family. In high school Angel joined the football team, which was his introduction into sports. Football kept him on the right track and encouraged him to set goals beyond high school.
In two years, Corey Edwards’ goal is to be coaching in the Division I ranks, the highest level of men’s college basketball. For a lot of basketball coaches, ascending to Division I is aspirational at best, but for Corey it feels more like an eventuality. This feeling is born from his lineage and experience in basketball and his dedication to the coaching craft.
In every aspect of her work as a dance coach at ARISE Academy you can see the strategies Chanice learned at the Up2Us Sports training. One example of this is helping kids who struggle to behave by giving them opportunities to matter. “One of [my] students likes to talk back, he likes to talk the entire class so I would have him be the director. He would be standing next to me and I would give him something to do and he would help the other students,” she explained. “Instead of the behavior causing disruptions, they were helping each other. They were learning how to [put] what people would call disruptive behavior to good use.”
Patrick credits ROTC as the biggest influence in his life and he aspires to pass on the values it instilled in him to the kids he is now coaching, who have become his biggest inspiration. The experience - both as a volunteer and now as a full-time coach - has also helped Patrick put things into perspective and move on from the loss of his dream.
My name is Sean Johnson and I am a veteran of the United States Air Force. I served in the Desert Storm conflict, returned home and was shot in the back in my neighborhood. I was left a paraplegic with little hope from the medical establishment that I would ever walk again. There was a time I thought my life was over but it was just the beginning. Through prayer, a consistent support system and an undeniable desire to walk, I did just that. I actually ran! For several years I was able to walk with the aid of a fixed leg brace. Complications from an ulcer years later resulted in the amputation of my right leg below the knee. I was introduced to wheelchair sports and began playing basketball and tennis. In addition to a host of gold medals from the annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games, I was one of twelve selected in 2014 to represent the East in the NWBA All Star Game in New Orleans.
I’ve always loved sports and being re-acquainted with them after losing my leg helped me to cope with my situation better. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I felt the need to help someone else. I have a heart for the disabled, veterans and our youth. Working with Up2Us Sports has allowed me to address and service all three of these groups. The training Up2Us Sports provided for me is something I will never forget! I learned how to reach those who are in need, and through the power of sports, guide them to a happier, healthier and more satisfying life.
Sean Johnson began his one-year service term at Philly PAL through Up2Us Sports' Operation Coach Program in August 2016. His position is generously funded by Toyota.