“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived — that is to have succeeded.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s usually in great times of crisis when we witness the importance of community support. When someone is hurt, in need, or struggling, we seek support from our friends, family, and members of the community. As we all know, different people — different communities — experience support in various ways.
In our daily lives, we don’t always notice our breath. We don’t notice our breathing. It’s just a part of who we are and what we do. But, when that breath is taken away, when it is limited, we begin to feel the weight on our chest, the heaviness in our heart, and the struggle just to stay alive. We panic. We grasp for whatever we can. We wonder what will happen next.
In our communities, we have been breathing in inequity in education. But, we haven’t noticed it because we are so used to feeling the heaviness and restriction. We’ve become used to the difficulty. We’ve become used breathing limitations, lack of opportunity, and lack of care.
But, Coaching For Change wants to change that. We work with communities and kids to show them just how good breathing — when it’s unrestricted — feels. We show them what can happen when they invest into their communities; when they invest in themselves. While we often talk about the business of Coaching For Change through our programs, sport clinics, after school events, and in-school enrichment, the foundation of Coaching For Change is really about love. It’s about caring. It’s about support.
For those of us involved in Coaching For Change, this has never been just a job. It is a lifestyle. Hundreds of hours planning, coaching, working, thinking, and practicing go into making Coaching For Change a huge success; but it’s really the infinite love we have for what we do that drives our success. It’s the importance of knowing that what we do helps others to breathe more freely. More easily.
In communities that are under-served and under-resourced, we need to pay extra attention to the emotional support that we give our students. We make sure they know that we believe in both their potential and their contributions. We make sure they feel appreciated, valued, and understood when they come to work. Though they know we have high expectations for them, they also know they are loved.
But, what, exactly, is the crisis we are waiting for in education? What more must happen before we actively make changes to meet the needs of our students in these communities? Data about completion, retention, graduation, and career success along with the narratives of our students have already given us compelling reasons to get involved, to get active, and to get upset about the inequities in education.
Every day, we take for granted that one breath will follow another. And another. And another.
But, at Coaching For Change, we know that breathing comes easier for some than others; in some communities than others. That is why our work, our commitment, and our organization is so important. But, the work isn’t just for our kids — it’s for us, too. Coaching For Change reminds us of our responsibility to make sure that each person we meet can breathe easier. That they have the opportunities and pathways to breathe.
For us, that is success.
(Get well soon, Big Guy)
–Liza and Marquis