When I was growing up I never had the opportunity to play sports. As I’ve grown older, I see a serious need for youth sports programs, especially in Chicago. Recently I was coaching my own kids in baseball and soccer in a small, rural Indiana town. Things are much different there – kids don’t experience the temptations of street life and the dangers of gang activity.
For a lot of the inner city youth in Chicago, programs can make a huge difference in their lives. I want to contribute something to the lives of children even if it doesn’t involve soccer. If there is anything I can do to educate, coach, or even just listen to a child in order to make a positive impression on his or her life, my time is well spent.
I’ve only been involved with the Urban Initiatives program for a few weeks and it has been great seeing the kids jumping off the bus excited to learn and play soccer. Other than the opportunity to play soccer, the structure of the program allows kids to meet kids from other schools and backgrounds, which for me is more important than the games themselves. Kids need to be exposed to different things and if a child can make a lifelong friend through this program, imagine the great impact that it could have on his or her future.
There is nothing like watching the kids compete and give their all as they learn the importance of sportsmanship, making new friends, and learning new skills. I’ve seen plenty of boys and girls with accelerated skills which is a complement to the coaches who take the time out to teach the kids the basics of the game. Imagine where some of these kids would be, and what they might be doing if it wasn’t for this program. I feel privileged to be apart of this outstanding program and hope to grow with it in the future.
– Volunteer Coach Marlo A.