Yesterday the co-ops and I had the opportunity to volunteer at Mattahunt Elementary School and Community Center in Mattapan, MA. We were invited by the Celtics community crew along with volunteers from the Celtics staff, season ticket holders, President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, Dana Barros, City Year, YMCA, and other community partners.
City Year team leaders organized 6 projects throughout the school to be completed by over 150 people within the 2 day event. Projects included building benches and an outdoor classroom, organizing the school library, cleaning up the school yard and painting inspirational quotes and a mural. As team 6 we were responsible for painting the mural that sketched out by a City Year team member. This project was really rewarding because it was very hands on and it will be the first thing the kids see when they walk into the community center.
The artist behind the mural wanted to inspire the students to achieve their educational goals while uniting their community. Going off the Celtics theme of “unity”, the mural was painted with shades of green and emphasized togetherness. The work was long and tedious, but by the end of the day we were able to step back and see what we had accomplished. Right before closing ceremonies Governor Deval Patrick and Senator Scott Brown stopped by to contribute to the work we were doing on the mural. I even got to work alongside Governor Patrick and speak with him about Sport in Society and how every little effort makes a big difference.
Yesterday was the kick off day to many volunteer and community outreach projects sponsored by the Celtics CommUNITY Crew. The other co-ops and I had a great time and felt like we really made a difference for Mattahunt School and community. We look forward to future projects and events.
This week was another busy one for myself and the rest of the co-op team. Since the last time I blogged, I mentioned that Tom and I were preparing to do some diversity training for Project Teamwork. So we went out to Point Webster Middle School in Quincy, MA on tuesday to give two half-hour sessions to 7th and 8th graders. The training was great, I felt Tom and I did a good job for it being our first time. The kids were great, they were attentive and participated very well with the diversity game we played. Both sessions went by pretty fast as we just introduced Project Teamwork, more info about us and where we came from, and finished things off by playing a game. We had the same structure for both sessions. The first session with the 8th graders felt like we were just getting our feet wet but, as we got into the material and had a nice rhythm in talking, I started to feel more comfortable and it just made me feel relaxed. I walked out of there feeling good about our first time and since Tom and I are going to be going back every tuesday, its just going to get easier for me.
Later on in the week, myself and the rest of the co-ops did some community service work for the Boston Celtics organization out in Mattapan. Other organizations were there such as City Year, and people who work for the Boston Celtics such as the assistant coaches, the community relation department, and season ticket holders. Throughout the day, we painted a mural that was in a multi-purpose room where kids would come hangout after school and stuff like that. It was an all day event painting that mural but I didn’t care because it was for a great cause and painting was just so relaxing. I left out of there at the end of the day feeling real good about myself because I helped changed the world in some way by as simple as giving back and doing anything where it can impact a large group of kids just brings a smile to my face. I’m pretty sure the kids like the mural that we painted. It was definitely a great experience not for me but for everybody else who was apart of it. Hopefully I can continue to change the world in some aspect by doing great things such as giving back because its tough when people struggle to have the good things in life.
Yesterday I had the privilege to attend an Executive forum at Fenway Park. In all my years at Northeastern I am embarrassed to say that I had not been to Fenway before yesterday, but I am glad I got to experience it. The event began with a question and answer session with Red Sox General Manager, Theo Epstein and COO, Sam Kennedy- moderated by the Red Sox radio broadcaster, Joe Castiglione. I found out that Joe Castiglione teaches a class here at Northeastern, a class in Communication Studies.
We learned about how Theo and Sam came to be who they are today. Similar stories considering they grew up in the same town and went to the same high school. The conversation shifted to trying to land a job in the sports industry. It is a very competitive field and everyone wants to do it.
The pieces of advice that really resonated with me was, that you have to find a way to stand out. Theo mentioned that for every 500 applications they receive for their summer internship program they probably hire 1. So finding something that sets you apart is crucial.
Something else that got me thinking was when they said you have to be passionate about sports to work in the sports industry you can’t just want free tickets and free gear, you have to live for the sport. Recently that has been a theme in my life when it comes to coaching. I started volunteer coaching the walk-on women’s rowing team here at Northeastern. I have been rowing for almost 10 years now and I was struggling with how to break the stroke down and teach it to someone who has never even heard of the sport. I have always been more of a lead by example kind of person, so I tried explaining and also showing them how to do it. But one thing you can’t teach is passion. I can’t teach someone to love the sport, I can only provide them with the knowledge and hope they love the sport as much as I have learned to.
Having worked at Sport in Society for a little over 2 months now, I have learned that sport truly is a microcosm representative of the world’s social issues. Whether it be related to drug use, equality, homophobia or diversity, troubling issues within our society are also mirrored within the world of sport. The significance of this reality is that sport provides the platform to talk about these issues
So when high profile athletes make the news it allows for open discussion of often controversial issues. Most recently, former Red Sox player and fan favorite Manny Ramirez made headlines for domestic battery charges. Though an unfortunate event for everyone involved, the incident without a doubt raised awareness on the issue of domestic violence.
As a criminal justice major, I have been educated on the controversies, laws and even myths revolving around domestic violence. A major topic of discussion has always been the matter of police involvement. Should mandatory arrests be made? Is domestic violence a personal matter to be dealt with at home? What is the best response when responding to a domestic violence call? One thing that can be agreed upon is that there are proactive strategies to domestic violence that should be utilized.
One of those proactive solutions is educating high school youth on dating violence. Sport in Society has a program called Mentors for Violence Prevention (MVP) which encompasses the proactive theories I have discussed with my classmates and professors. MVP is a leadership program that seeks to prevent gender violence, and it is exactly the type of program that should be taught in high schools and colleges.
Domestic violence isn’t a rare occurrence and it certainly isn’t limited to professional baseball players and their families. Instead, it involves both male and female victims and abusers, and is sadly an overlooked problem. I’m happy to have witnessed the success and popularity of the MVP program while being a co-op at SIS.
After an encouraging turnout at NU’s volunteer fair last week, the co-ops and I feel confident that Huskies for Sport in Society will have a successful future. Most students were drawn to our table due to the affiliation with Sport in Society. The students decided to sign-up, though, when we informed them about the group’s mission and volunteer opportunities. It was reassuring to learn that while an overwhelming amount of students had an interest in sport they were more passionate about community service.
Tomorrow night marks the group’s first organized meeting. If even half of the students who signed up at the volunteer fair come to the meeting it will be a good turn out. We plan on screening an episode of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series. Four days in October, a story about the Boston Red Sox, will most likely be the first viewing. Aside from the movie we will also discuss future meeting times, commitment and scheduling as well as group goals.
By utilizing Sport in Society’s partnership with the YMCA we have already secured a few volunteer opportunities for club members. Volunteer services will range from SAT prep to tutoring to coaching basketball. I’m hoping that every member of the student group can find a volunteer opportunity that fits their interests and needs.
For the past week the other coops and I here at Sport and Society have been working hard to make headway into our primary project here at SIS. This past week our two pairings of coops me and Liz and Demetrius and Courtney have been out interviewing the YMCA executive directors. I am excited to say that we have found aspects of each YMCA that we feel can be implemented/should be implemented in all the Greater Boston YMCAs.
For this upcoming week we are also excited to start prepping going out the the YMCAs and interviewing the local YMCA teen directors. On Monday two coops are headed out to the East boston YMCA to talk with the East boston teen director.
In my opinion, this might of been the busiest week for myself and the rest of the co-ops. We are continuing to make progress with Harold Sparrow and the Executive Directors of the Y’s as we went out to the different branches and conducted interviews with Executive Directors of each Y. Courtney and I went to Hyde Park monday to interview to Donna Sullivan and came out of there feeling good about it because we felt like Donna was receptive to what we were trying do as far as improving the YMCA’s of Boston. Tuesday, we interviewed Willie Shillman of YMCA Acheivers and Mae Young of Roxbury YMCA. Both of them went well. Willie’s interview was different because his program doesn’t deal with the sports programming or child care, he is strictly teens, mainly high school juniors and seniors whos focus is to help them get prepared for college and the things that comes with it such as taking SAT’s and talking about different majors the kids would be interested in getting into. Next week, we will be heading back out to the Y’s to conduct interviews with the Teen Directors, starting with Reggie, teen director of the Hyde Park Y on Monday.
Other than the interviews, Tom and I are preparing ourselves to conduct a training session with Middle School students for Project TEAMWORK within a week or two. Jarrod asked us if we were interested and we both gladly accepted. I never really facilitated a training session before but I’ve a little experience in facilitating children in preschool and also teenagers while coaching football so this would be a great opportunity for me in doing this. Facilitating and teaching is something I want to get into and what better chance is this for me than to do this, so I’m excited about this.
On Wednesday, myself and the rest the SIS team, all worked at Northeastern’s Job Fair, which was held at the Curry Student Center. This fair is basically for any graduate or undergraduate students who are interested in interning or volunteering at the different organizations that were there. Our job, as the co-ops was to present Sport in Society to people who were interested. As part of the process, we had to talk about what Sport in Society is and what we’re all about. Then if people were interested, then we would have them sign up by putting their name and e-mail on a sign up sheet. We may of walked out of the fair with at least 6 to 7 pages full of names, which in my opinion, was pretty impressive. I never did any type of work like this until now but I felt like a tape recorder as to the many times I was repeating myself over and over and over again, but I enjoyed it though. A lot of the feedback that I was getting back from the people I was talking to, was that did they have to be an athlete to join the team. I obviously told them no but the majority of them probably never played a sport so I understand where that question would come from. I felt like the job fair was a successful one for Sport in Society.
Over the past week, the Sport in Society coops and I have been working on many projects. The most recent of which was for Dan, Sport in Society’s executive director. He had us research all the female CEOs in Massachusetts and put in an excel sheet their names, companies and contacts. This project was very interesting for me because I would have never expected a female CEO to run some of the companies on our list.
In these upcoming weeks at Sport in Society we are looking forward to beginning our long term YMCA project with the Executive directors of the local Boston area YMCAs. As of now we are waiting upon email confirmation from the Executive directors. Another project that we coops are looking forward to is the YMCA field day which happens on October 1st.
Fun Fact:This upcoming week we are looking forward to welcoming 3 new members to the Sport in Society family.