physical fitness, Uncategorized, youth community leaders, youth sports

Community Leaders in T-Hawk Nation

The 135 Spring Classic 3 v 3 Basketball Tournament kicked off without a hitch on the morning of May 26, 2013. Players, organizers, and spectators gathered together to sing the national anthem to kick the day off right. With rain clouds looming, Nic Zanghi, and fellow graduating senior and co-organizer, Tom Beck, took to the bull horn to announce the day’s first match-up on the main court. The day proceeded with riveting games ending in extra points and major upsets, while the unwavering high energy from crowd made the park feel like “our own March Madness”. The players spanned the ages from high school freshman to college freshman, each one trying harder than the next to out-score and out-hustle their opponents.

            “Most of us hang out playing pick-up games here all the time, shooting for teams, and just playing ball.” said Beck, who was not able to play due to an ACL injury sustain in the beginning of his senior varsity basketball season. “Then one day about three weeks ago, Nic [Zanghi] proposed the idea that we organize a tournament. When he asked me to help run it, I was immediately interested. I always want to be around the game as much as possible, even if I can’t play.”

            Beck emphasized the immense amount of time that was spent over the next three weeks meeting and exchanging texts with Zanghi, as they debated and discussed the logistics of the tournament. With the cooperation of the 40-plus tournament participants, Zanghi and Beck evaluated talent, and made teams fairly with seedings to follow. The 135 Spring Classic was set to be played rain or shine. Zanghi, aka The Commissioner, and Beck were not satisfied allowing this to be just an average 3 v 3 basketball tournament. Their entrepreneurial spirit lead them to team with tournament participants, Zach Gittlen and Jesse Vaughn, to find a sponsor. They approached Q’Doba, where Gittlen and Vaughn are employed, to speak with the marketing team. By the end of the meeting, the boys had convinced Q’Doba that this tournament consisted entirely of their target demographic and that free samples and T-shirts are often rewarded with repeat business.

            From 10am until tournament’s end, around 2pm, the crowd remained at capacity, only losing participants to employment obligations. There was nothing for any passer by to complain about except for excessive cheering and friendly trash talk.The first annual 135 Spring Classic in Northborough was an inspiring and uncommon example of the power of youth and community. Beck and Zanghi are not your typical high school leaders, and thanks to their success at this event and the high demand for repeated occurrences, we hope that this is the beginning of a trend of youth-lead community organizing.

            Thank you to Jess Carlin, Rachel O’Sullivan, and Tatiana Colindres for their volunteered assistance in the game-day tournament operations. Congratulations to Luke Serra, Michael Baker, and Matt Powell for winning the tournament! Also, a shout out to Sean Hill for being awarded the Tournament MVP, for leading his last-seeded team into the Final Four.

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Press Release / Blog Post

Pete Berman, Director of Operations, Coaching For Change, Inc.

5/27/2013

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physical fitness, Uncategorized, youth sports

Coaching For Change Program Model

Coaching For Change was founded on the idea of expanding the role of athletics beyond play, by creating an infrastructure that empowers and mobilizes young people to be highly skilled thinkers, visionaries and leaders. Our founding team understands the disparities communities face in having access to physical activity, educational equity, and economic mobility.  Coaching For Change program model is designed to teach skills that prepare young people for the 21st Century.

Coaching For Change mission is to equip young people with the skills and opportunities they need to thrive in today’s workforce, using sports, project planning and community engagement as vehicles for success.

Coaching For Change (C4C) uses a tiered model where college students train teenagers to coach and mentor elementary students. While our lens is coaching and physical activity, we are teaching skills needed to succeed in college and the workplace. Our college students act as mentors and teachers in the program. The teenage participants gain mentors, job skills and experience which can lead to economic mobility. Together they engage in hands-on management tactics to help build confidence, sharpen organization skills, and test leadership concepts. Our elementary participants benefit from improved health tips and a steady increase of physical activity through sports based programs.

C4C partners with colleges/university to recruit, train, and place college students as volunteers coaches in communities where we run after school programs. In the past 22 months, C4C has created 15 afterschool sports opportunities in the Greater Brockton Community and Boston that has served over 250 kids between the ages of 6-18, who all lived in low-income communities.

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education, physical fitness, Uncategorized, youth jobs, youth sports

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Community Development can mean different things to different people.  However, in its simplest form it is “people helping people improve their life conditions by addressing common interest.”  Through Coaching For Change (C4C), we believe that changes begins in our own communities, and that the members of our communities are the best ones to make the change. For the city of Brockton, we believe that there are two major issues affecting our community: education/career pathways and childhood obesity. Through partnerships, we empower our community to work together to identify the problem, come up with solutions and make it all happen!

As the summer time approaches, we think of perfect weather, BBQs and beaches.  Teens and young Imageadults are getting ready for summer break which is filled with fun and friends. For many teens, during the summer, every day is a Saturday, free of responsibility and full of unsupervised hours to spend with friends.  C4C sees this as an opportunity to use fun recreational activity and sports to connect teens with positive role models and turn them into role models for their community.  With youth employment on the decline and the increase in major social inequalities, C4C uses sports to employ teens while they learn about leadership.

In Brockton, MA the Education and Workforce Training Taskforce reported that youth lack the opportunities they need to develop the skills neccessary to succeed in today’s global economy.  Majority of the youth population face low literacy, poverty, language barriers, low skill attainment and health issues as a challenge to their success.  Research has also shown the decline in skill, information, and academic retention that occurs during the summer months. This is why Coaching For Change believes in continuing relevant skill development, social support, and academic mentoring during the summer months.

C4C uses the summer break as an opportunity to enhance teen skills development for college and/or the workplace.  Through sports we create a learning environment that challenges and connects them with positive mentors in both formal and informal environments (e.g., sporting events, theater, professional development). The program uses a hands on approach to educate and get teenagers involved in the process of individual empowerment and creating community change by getting kids more active.

The summer provides us with so many opportunities to collaborate with groups and organizations who are reaching out to youth. We are excited to begin the summer by hosting our Leadership and Business Academy, our summer camps and clinics, and our field trips!

How will you use your summer to learn about and contribute to a sustainable social and economic development?

–Marquis and Liza


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meet c4c, youth sports

PLANNING AND DOING

Coaching For Change, Inc. believes it is time to approach the educational process differently.   One of the ways we do this is by taking our students out of their local environment and exposing them to different types of communities, sports, opportunities, and leadership scenarios. We teach kids about how human environments shape and influence actions and interactions. And they get to see, first hand, the ways in which environments and communities are both similar and different to their own.

This past Saturday, the Game Changers had the opportunity to work with Community Rowing, Inc.  at the “Let’s Row Boston, Youth Indoor Rowing Event”.   For many of them, it was their first time at CRI and rowing on the water. The Game Changers met other kids from the community and also saw the impact that rowing has on the lives of others.  By taking our students to the Let’s Row event, we helped them apply the lessons about leadership, supportive risk-taking, professionalism and sports, and put it all into action. At Coaching For Change, we are all about making our classroom lessons come to life!

One of the powerful conversations we’ve been having with our teens is the connection between planning and doing. Sometimes, even when we do everything in our plan,  life still turns out unexpectedly. Like many other kids, our Game Changers believe if they work hard, get good grades, graduate high school, and graduate college they will have a successful life. As we talked, I asked them questions that challenged the notion of “if I work hard, it’ll just happen.” Our students began to understand that we need to prepare for our futures by preparing for the complexities of life. We need to learn to adapt to — and challenge — obstacles in our way. By working through different scenarios, our Game Changers are learning to overcome hurdles, develop important leadership skills, and practice the lessons they have learned.

Coaching For Change recognizes adolescence as a powerful time period for young people to develop skills that teach them to take action.  We provide youth the unique ability to organize in order to achieve a goal.   We turn theory into practice, think critically about our lives and our contributions, and develop a better understanding of those both different and similar to ourselves. Coaching For Change provides a safe environment for young people to experiment with their definitions of leadership, with their desire to be positive community members, and seek ways to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

Together, we are changing the game. 

–Marquis

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physical fitness, youth sports

LET’S MOVE

Coaching For Change, Inc. is passionate about identifying and creating new ways to increase physical activity for school age children.  The focus is on encouraging young people to be more physically active and make healthier choices.

In an answer to the First Lady Michelle Obama Let’s Move initiative, Coaching For Change promotes an active community that provides fun and affordable sports and fitness programs.

According to a study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Health, a staggering one-third of the  schoolchildren in MA are overweight or obese by the time they reach first grade.  In addition, the Let’s Move website states that 8-18 year old adolescents spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media and only one-third of high school student get the recommended levels of physical activity.

With increasing pressure on schools to perform on standardized tests, classroom overcrowding, and budget cuts on activities that could increase physical activity, students are spending less time accessing information and opportunities for better health. Coaching For Change asks, “How can we create environments that are fun and meaningful?”

In the cities of Boston and Brockton, 43% and 40% of school aged children, respectively, are identified as overweight or obese. In the past 7 months, I have worked with over 700+ kids between the 1-12th grade to increase physical activity in Boston and Brockton.  I have done this through my work with the Community Rowing, Inc. “Let’s Row Boston ” which implements indoor rowing in Boston Public middle schools. In Brockton, I have trained high school students to coach the elementary and middle school students at the Boys & Girls Club of Brockton.

What are some ways to increase access to physical activity for young people?

  • Reduce “screen” time (computers, phones, etc) and identify local after school programs that focus on physical activity. Some of these programs offer financial scholarships that are need sensitive.
  • Find 10-15 minutes a day as a family to do something physical. This could be going outside for a walk or simply finding ways to create friendly competitions indoors!
  • Get to know other kids in the neighborhood and find ways to create games together.

Coaching For Change, Inc. provides opportunities for fun, sport, and leadership to kids of all ages. We get kids moving but also focus on enjoyment, team work, and appreciation for physical fitness. Through our camps, clinics, after school programs and AAU teams, we provide a diverse range of opportunities to get fit!

–Marquis

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