Here I am, finally! It has been a long summer. I happily accepted this Coop at Sport in Society during the last leg of my sophomore year at Northeastern University. Since starting here, I have been trying to explain, and failing, what exactly my job entails. It has been nearly three weeks since myself and the other co-coops started here at SIS, and I finally think I am at the point where I can somewhat describe what I do.
My time here is split three different ways, two days a week, I am at the East Boston and the Wang YMCA, and on Thursdays I am at the Belvedere Sport in Society office. Our roles at the YMCAs are to work closely with guidance and direction with the Teen Directors of the Ys as consultants, resources, and program developers. Often times however, the directors at the Ys are so busy that I am forced to step up and follow through with my own projects; which I fully embrace.
My schedule ensures every work day is different, which is great for me considering I’m generally not one for structure. I have been working closely with fellow Coop Rachel Shanley, as she is also stationed at the East Boston and Wang YMCAs. Working with Rachel has been great, we share similar interests and have been very successful in communicating and working towards common goals.
The Wang and East Boston are not alike, and the differences are very stark. East Boston has incredible amounts of space along with beautiful new facilities but smaller number of teens for programming, whereas the Wang is the opposite, boasting great numbers of teens while being completely starved for space; they also have much more antiquated facilities. Initially, I focused on how I could partner East Boston and the Wang in a way that is mutually beneficial, but I have yet to come up with a solid solution thus far. However, I have been in contact with a number of different organizations in an effort to try to build community partnerships with organizations such as The New England Aquarium, The Boston Cannons, and The Reebok Foundation, among others.
This process has been extremely fun and beneficial for me. Talking to these large organizations under the strong brands of the YMCA and Sport in Society have allowed me to gain instant credibility when contacting them, and have aided greatly in my quest to broaden the scope of teen programming at the Wang and East Boston. Just yesterday I was contacted by the Reebok Foundation about a possible grant for the Wang.
The Chinatown Y is placed near the center of Boston, just a two minute walk from the Boston Commons. The facility has a large space on its roof with rubberized flooring that would be fantastic for a number of ball sports and activities, unfortunately the walling is only about 5 feet high, meaning there is great danger of sending balls over the side and hitting cars. Therefore, this space is wasted due to the lack of a literal “safety net” that would stop anything from flying over the edge. Without this space all the Wang has for physical activity is a basketball court, a pool and a spread out gym, which is simply not enough for the number of memberships they have. This prompted me to give the Reebok foundation a call and left a message explaining the predicament and I am now in the process of working out a proposal that could potentially get the Wang a free net. I am extremely excited to keep working and making a noticeable difference at the Wang and East Boston.
So here I am, at Sport in Society, making a difference!