Meet The New Program Associates

578846_10151077627379675_814182325_n.jpgHi! This is Becca, Brendan, and Noah here, the new Program Associates at Urban Initiatives this year. We are honored and excited to be a part of this amazing team, and we anticipate another very successful year for the organization. We have a diverse collection of experiences and interests that merge well with the mission of UI, and after an intense but productive week of training, we are ready to roll! Here’s a little bit about ourselves to get you familiarized with our passions and share our excitement for this upcoming year!

 

Noah Pickens

What are you looking forward to most this year?
I am looking forward to engaging with two of my biggest passions: soccer and kids. Some of the best memories of my childhood were playing soccer with my buddies on the street and at school. Recently I took the opportunity to coach during my student teaching experience at the middle school level in college. Needless to say, it fired me up even more about coaching, school and encouraging kids to do their best in every way possible. I am hoping to bring that excitement to the four schools I have been assigned to that include Tarkington, Providence Englewood, Louis Pasteur and Henry Lloyd Elementary School.

My favorite soccer memory?
I grew up in both Colombia and Ecuador where soccer was played and followed religiously. I will never forget the last week that I spent in Ecuador before coming to college. Ecuador’s university league team Liga had just reached the finals of the South American cup Copa Libertadores against the Brazilian team Fluminense. During the course of that week, business in the city was at a standstill and everybody was glued to the TV. The excitement built up when Liga hosted the Brazilians for the final match and decisively won on account of penalties. All I can remember from that day were crowds of people that took to the streets in celebration.

Favorite move from UI curriculum ?
Most of my soccer career has been played from the position of last man back also known as the sweeper position. It was my duty to maintain control of the defensive line and makes sure we moved as a unit and kept a tight watch on the opposing striking players. However one effect of this position on me was that I had very little room for error. Every time I possessed the ball I needed to spread it out as soon as possible with accuracy in order to mount a successful counter attack. The ‘tuck and under’ move was very helpful because it allowed me to switch directions from side to side quickly and it kept the ball on a very short leash.

Favorite healthy food?
I love Spinach in pretty much anything- especially in omelets.

Becca Martinson

What are you looking forward to most this year?
Soccer was my first introduction to a healthy lifestyle. The coaches, practices, games and teammates I had helped shape my responsibilities to my community and myself. I am forever grateful to the ways in which soccer has made me a more dynamic, critical and creative thinker. I am looking forward to seeing the ways in which soccer can bring that same joy and to the students and families at my schools Bethune, Howe, Morton and Noble.

My favorite soccer memory?
My parents love to tell me a story about my first soccer season. It was a co-ed rec league and I was five years old. The ball rolled into a huge pit of mud. All of the other kids stopped playing but I ran right through the pit and kicked the ball and wiped out.

Favorite move from UI curriculum ?
I think the Messi is the best move because it is fun to watch defenders get confused.

Favorite healthy food?
I love cantaloupe because it is sweet.

Brendan McAlpine

What are you looking forward to most this year?
When one’s job description involves playing soccer with second to fourth graders and promoting health and character development, there is a lot to look forward to. But more specifically, I cannot wait to get started with the upcoming soccer seasons at Attucks, Claremont, Reavis, and Sherman Elementary schools. As I was growing up, playing soccer was an essential social, physical, and recreational activity that strongly impacted own development, and I am thrilled to be part of a team that is offering a comprehensive program that not only helps kids get into soccer, but it also helps them develop constructive, life-changing habits. It is a privilege to work with Chicago Public School students, and I am so looking forward to witnessing the hard work, dedication, and success of these students.

My favorite soccer memory?
My favorite soccer memory goes way back to my days as a ten year old. My team was having a great season, and we were now facing our league rivals. I had the best performance of my soccer career, scoring five goals, as my team won a resounding victory. My favorite offensive moment in that game came when I stole the ball from an opposing player at midfield and proceeded to dribble through the defense, finishing the run by burying the ball in the back of the net.

Favorite move from UI curriculum ?
My favorite move is the classic rollover. I occasionally embellish it by turning it into a full Maradona if the moment calls for it. I love being able to change direction and control the ball using the rollover.

Favorite healthy food?
I love broccoli. I always have, and I always will. When I was a kid, I ate broccoli by pretending I was a dinosaur or giraffe eating leaves off of a giant tree. Don’t worry, I grew out of that, but I do still love broccoli.