My Experience at SIS

           Although my time here at Sport in Society has been brief, the skills, information and lessons that I have learned have been plentiful. Upon embarking on my summer internship, here at S.I.S., I was hopeful and ambitious, excited to learn about the world of non-profits and sport. And in just two short months I earned a certificate of completion at the Mentors in Violence Prevention Institute, completed a photographic documentary on sport-based youth development organizations in Boston, built relationships with my fellow interns, learned about professional development, and so much more.

            Participating in the M.V.P. training program allowed me to enhance my knowledge of how to address, stop and be sensitive about men’s violence towards women. Upon beginning the program I was a little bit reserved. I felt as if the issue of men’s violence towards women was blatantly obvious; it’s wrong and you shouldn’t do it. Yet throughout the training I began to realize all the different complications and “gray areas” of the topic and how difficult, not only, is it to completely stop men’s violence towards women, but also how hard it can be to even talk about the issue. Being in a safe and open environment with people from so many different backgrounds allowed me to see many different sides of the issue and helped me sympathize with them. As a fairly shy individual I was very nervous when I heard that we, the participants, would be facilitating our own conversations on the final day of training. Yet, when my time came to facilitate the task came much easier than expected, as I had learned from our own facilitators how to efficiently tackle the job. Overall, the M.V.P. institute was a great learning experience for me and I am very happy that it was a part my internship.

            As summer interns, we were all encouraged to create our own project, based upon a subject which appealed to our own interests. I found it difficult at first to come up my own project without any sort of restrictions. Finally, I decided that I would research the local Division 1 school’s adherence to Title IX, particularly the schools’ distributions of athletic scholarships. When I discovered this research had already been completed, I became a bit discouraged. Then I decided upon a project that involved my love of sports and my hobby of photography. I concluded that I would set out to create a photographic documentary promoting sport-based youth development organizations in the Boston area.

            The creation of my photographic documentary proved to be a bit more difficult than I had expected. It took weeks for me to get in contact and set up shooting dates with the organizations. I thought I was going to be able to include more groups into my project but I ended up only shooting three; Tenacity, America Scores: Boston, and Metro Lacrosse. Another obstacle that I encountered was my lack of experience photographing sporting events. I have had experience shooting stills but had never really shot moving objects or people. It was a bit challenging to photograph some of these events because the pace was so fast and my camera was definitely not as equipped for such a task as a may have liked. In the end I compiled a group of 20 photographs from the three programs I photographed. Editing and arranging these photos proved to be a very tedious and time-consuming undertaking. However, in the end I think that the project turned out to be pretty decent. I definitely wish that I had camera wish a faster shutter to have captured better action shots but I think that I did an alright job with the tools that I had.

            Overall, I really enjoyed my experience here at Sport in Society. I enjoyed learning about the organization, our partner affiliations and the world of social justice based non-profits. This internship definitely helped me realize that I would like to work within this field, perhaps for a sport-based youth development organization. My only regret is not having enough time and sufficient equipment to complete my project. 

Intern, Kate Wegener


Male Violence and Professional Sports

For the past few weeks the New England Patriot’s tight end, Aaron Hernandez, has been the subject of headlines across the media spectrum. Hernandez, at only age 23, was arrested on June 26th and charged with first-degree murder, along with other firearm charges. In the aftermath of Hernandez’s arrest arose the question; do professional athletes encounter more trouble with the law than the average citizen?

It seems as though professional athletes are constantly being arrested, getting fined or accused of criminal actions constantly, due to the excessive media coverage of such events. In our society professional athletes are celebrities. They are idolized, celebrated and worshipped by fans both young and old. Due to the elevated status of professional athletes today, expectations of fans are high and when an athlete fails, these actions are seen across the nation, and, quite often, across the world. Unlike the average citizen, athletes are constantly followed by the media, who are just waiting for them to slip, allowing them the pleasure of reporting a high profile story.

Although athletes appear to be negatively portrayed in the media, statistics have proven that the rate of arrests for NFL players is lower than that of other male citizens. In 2011 the FBI determined the arrest rate to be just below 4%, while during that same year only 2.8% of NFL players were arrested. Yet the NFL name has been tarnished due to this minute population of football players who have failed to abide by the law. Clearly statistics show that professional football players are less likely than others to be arrested. So, one may ask the question: why, then, are these rare altercations with the law by NFL athletes so widely publicized in the media?

The answer is this; the purpose of the media is to sell a story and a story of a professional athlete’s inability to follow the law is more probable to be successful than an identical story with an average citizen as the offender. The problem here does not solely lie within the NFL. Yes, there have been many accounts of football players acting violently, but statistics reveal that this is not uncommon for the American male. More educational programs need to be instated in order to mend this problem, as Sport in Society’s own Dan Lebowitz stated during an interview with NECN, “I think what you do is you have to have leadership education that is constant, that kind of moves with the times, that talks about the types of things like this [the Hernandez arrest] and uses it as a teaching moment, talks about a larger culture and the mistakes of youth that we all get subject to, particularly these athletes that are under a microscope 24 hours a day on the field and off the field.” Using education as a tool to fix the crisis of male violence must start early and it must happen often. 

Tag, Toss & Run – Meet the Author and Field Day

Last week Sport in Society had the opportunity to take full advantage of a beautiful sunny day. We cosponsored an event hosted by Snell Library and brought students together to play games and meet Paul Tukey, the co-author of Tag, Toss & Run. Thank you to the students of some of the following groups: NUHOC, Vietnamese Student Association, Betta Gamma Epsilon, and Tri Sigma, for participating and making it an awesome day! Pictures below.

Already March…

I do not understand how it is already March 9th. Our time at Sport in Society has flown by incredibly and overwhelmingly fast. We have all accomplished so much since I last posted.

I have enjoyed these last few weeks even more than I could imagine. I must say though, there was one day in particular that was extremely memorable for me. It was a Wednesday and I was heading into the Egleston Square YMCA. My boss told me I was going to take one of the youths to the Dorchester YMCA for an event that he was going to be participating in.

When the boy I would be taking to Dorchester arrived at Egleston, we met and we headed to the bus together. We instantly bonded. We spent the rest of the day together and played basketball, ate pizza, and talked. I was surprised at how I could so easily connect with somebody so different in all aspects. I want to work with youth when I get older, so I hope I never lose this ability to connect with them .

Another memorable day was when Charlie and I went to the Human Sexuality training. It was very interesting and even though it made us both a bit squeamish, we learned a lot. These two events are just examples of the unique and enlightening experiences that have come out of working at Sport in Society.

On a day by day note, at the Egleston Teen Center we have been working on outreach for the Junior Pathways SAT Program that started this past Tuesday. We had around 30 kids come to the first class, which was good, but we wanted at least 35. Hopefully as the classes continue, more kids will show up. The SAT class is a really great opportunity for these kids who may not be able to afford the really expensive SAT programs like Kaplan, but still get prior training before the May 5th SAT.

I am currently working on my action plan and we are all seeming to be getting more and more comfortable with our various YMCA’s and each other. Everyone has exciting plans and goals and it will be so great to see how everything turns out. Every day it seems like something different is happening and I love that so much. With the double dutch tournaments and many other exciting events coming up, the next few months will continue to be amazing and enriching.

By: Jessy Segall


Ready, Set, Go

“How have classes been going? What are your plans for the spring? What do you mean by co-op? ”

Looking back to just about two months ago, I wish I could go back to the Nolan family Christmas party and better explain what I’m really doing this semester.  With an overwhelming crowd of 14 aunts and uncles and 35 plus cousins and their families, everyone was eager to get life updates.  My explanation of what I anticipated for co-op was pretty feeble…more often than not I got a puzzled look followed by “sounds interesting, good luck!” I knew how excited I was to start working at Sport in Society, but I couldn’t really explain what it is that I would be doing.

Perhaps the best part about co-oping at Sport in Society is that it isn’t the easiest to explain, because this co-op is very unlike others.  With the main responsibility of the five co-ops being to use capacity building techniques in the YMCA’s of the Greater Boston area, there is something different to do everyday.

I spend two days a week outside of the SIS office, one day at the Oak Square YMCA in Brighton and one day at the Roxbury YMCA. The drastic contrast in the programs and development between the two YMCA’s really surprised me.  So far, I’ve already had the opportunity to meet a lot of great staff members at both Y’s and get a sense of what the need is. What I am most eager to do now is to dive into it all and make the most out of the 6 months I am here.  

So far, I’ve already begun working with the Teen Director at the Roxbury YMCA to brainstorm methods for creating a volunteer system. Because the staff and funds are limited for the Roxbury Y, volunteers are crucial in order to run teen events. I’ve also started to help plan a day of community service for the teens that go to the Roxbury YMCA for March.  At the Brighton YMCA, I’ve been working with the teen director to promote new programs such as “Femme Fit”, which is a bi weekly that encourages more female participation in athletics.

After lots of familiarization, guidance, and team building I’m ready to go. I’m ready to build capacity and make some sort of lasting impression at the YMCA’s. I’m anticipating a great experience, as it has proven to be so far. I’m eager to see what will come of my time at Sport in Society.

By Emily Nolan

A Week in the Life With…

My name is Eric Wahlberg. I am a one of the 6 coops who work at Sport in Society. As part of working for Sport in Society, I am assigned to work at 2 different Y’s in the Boston area as well as volunteer at community events. After being employed for a little over a month now I am finally getting into a consistent groove where my personal progress can be measured.

Working with The Y has been the highlight of working for Sport in Society so far. Specifically, I am working with the Teen Directors at the Dorchester and Hyde Park branches. My responsibilities include helping with administrative work, developing new activities and programs and direct service with teens. On an administrative level I have cataloged teens that have frequented the facilities who the Y would like to continue initiating contact with to hopefully have them become full members. On the development side I have worked on a curriculum for a weekly teen group that helps raise awareness of social issues and gives tips on getting a competitive advantage in the real world. This week I generated a list of 30 popular mock interview questions for the teens to practice. These questions were accompanied with useful tips on how to best prepare and respond to these questions.

Direct service has been the most challenging and rewarding experience I have had so far at the Y. The challenging parts so far have been the motivation factor and physical activity. Motivation has to do with getting the teens to want to work on their homework. Understandably, doing homework is something that all of us would rather not do if given the opportunity but being at such a vulnerable age it is important to teach good habits. After enough persistence and routine, the teens have grown accustomed to the idea of doing homework before they can continue on to more fun activities. The other challenging part of direct service has been the physical activity. It has not been challenging for the teens but it has been for me. If you asked me 5 weeks ago, I would have told you that I considered myself to be in decent shape and could hold my own on the basketball court. Well, now all of my confidence has been shattered by 12 year olds. Not only have I been tossed around but I have consistently had my shots blocked by teen’s barely taller than 5 feet.  Talk about aggravating.

Working at The Y has not been the only thing that I have done. This past Saturday, at the wee hour of 10am, I volunteered at a Double Dutch tournament which Sport in Society sponsors. When I agreed to volunteer for this I was not sure what to expect. I was blown away to see an overcrowded gymnasium packed with competitors and their families. My responsibilities were to set up tables, organize trophies, and be an official clocker in the speed round of the tournament. I just have to say how without a doubt this was the most fun I had on an early Saturday morning in a very long time! The people were friendly, the tournament was extremely organized, and the energy was high. Congratulations to all of the competitors and thank you to all of the volunteers who made this tournament possible!

The experience I will gain from working at Sport in Society is completely up to me. The more work I put in the more I will learn. This is a great opportunity and I am so glad I chose to work here for my Spring 2012 coop. I hope you enjoyed the summary of my week in a nut shell and you will hear more from me in a few weeks. Until then enjoy the other great stories from the other 5 coops in the following weeks!



By Eric Wahlberg


If there is one thing that I have learned in life it is the importance of gaining perspective. To surround yourself with different people,  communities, experiences, and personalities is vital. In 7th grade I went to an extremely “ritzy” private school. It was a great school – but it was just not for me. When I transferred to a public school in downtown Atlanta, I gained a perspective that I would not trade for the world. Life is not all wealthy people waiting for their Dartmouth acceptance letter . There are millions of things going on in the world and as humans, it is tough to see the whole picture. We are all somewhat stuck in our own heads.

A friend once told me, “You have to live for something other than yourself. That is the only way to obtain happiness.” He was absolutely right. No matter what you do – if you have SOMETHING – you should help SOMEONE. Make it go full circle. That is the key. This is why Sport in Society is such a great co-op to be lucky enough to be a part of. Not only are we gaining office and work experience, we are getting to go out into the world – outside of our “comfort zone” – and do what everyone should be doing some of – helping people.

The YMCA that I have been assigned to is in Egleston Square in Roxbury. I take the 22 from Ruggles and it is about 2.5 miles away from the Northeastern campus. I love it. We have so many ideas and plans that we want to implement and it is just such a rewarding experience. The Egleston YMCA is not as advanced as the others – but that is partly what makes it so special. It is homey for the kids that come in and I would assume for the staff as well. So far I have made binders organizing names of volunteers, performed outreach for the Junior Pathways SAT Program coming up, and made a powerpoint of pictures that the teens can see when they come into the Y. Will and Michele (the directors) have wonderful ideas on how to enhance the Egleston Square Teen Center that include but are not limited to: having a gym fitness program to complete before being able to use the facilities, female group meetings on Saturdays, and incorporating film, music, art, and dance into activities.

The hours are also split up really well – two days a week we are at our designated YMCA’s, and the other three days we are in the office. We have our cool little corner in the back on the 4th floor of the Belvedere building and we are all becoming really close.

The first month is now over and I could not be more excited for the next five. The same goes with the other co-ops and interns. When reading this blog, there is a pattern that you see. The fact that this is not a normal co-op experience. We are getting so much more out of this than the average co-op job, and I am just so excited about all of the work ahead.

By: Jessy Segall