From the playground as a youth, to a Program Manager at PeacePlayers and in celebration of International Day of Sport for Peace and Development, I’d like to share my journey on my love for sports and how sport has become a platform to address some of our pressing social issues.
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.