AmeriCorps Coach Tayo

  1. Updates


Playworks soccer season had begun and once again I found myself surrounded by the hyper and enthusiastic spirits of the young girls from Brunson Lee. Each one of their beaming personalities never allowed a dull moment, and I love them for that.

This season, we added a new teammate to the melting pot of free-spirited students. Her name was Makayla. Makayla was different from the others – she was quiet and pragmatic. While the others were always jumping for joy because they were given the opportunity to be a part of a team and play with their friends, Makayla’s demeanor was more serious.

There was a specific afternoon in which I found it nearly impossible to hold the girls’ attention during practice, so I dismissed them to play on the playground in hopes that it would dispel their restlessness. It was that same afternoon that I was confronted by Makayla. She didn’t run off to play with her teammates on the playground, and when I asked her why, she told me that she wanted to spend some more time with me practicing soccer. I was elated – not only did this student want to learn, but she wanted to learn from me.

As practice came to an end and everyone packed up to go home, I was once again approached by Makayla. “Coach Tayo” she said in a soft tone, “Can I practice some more, please?” My first instinct was to say no because I didn’t want her to be late for pick up, but as I looked into the stands I saw her grandmother sitting there, signaling to me that it was fine for her to stay longer.

The more we practiced that evening, the more I began to see something in Makayla that I had not seen in my other students before—determination. With each mistake she made, she was determined to find a solution to correct it. As we were wrapping up, Makayla filled me in on a little secret, “Coach Tayo, I’ve never played soccer before. I’ve never played in a real soccer game.” The sudden lack of confidence despite her dedication to improve surprised me. I knew that I needed to encourage her and be her cheerleader. I explained to Makayla that it was important that she keep trying no matter the outcome, that she is showing improvements despite what she sees. Finally, she cracked a smile. In that moment, I knew she trusted me to make her better. I felt like I actually had the ability to make someone’s dream a reality. I was truly a coach!




More Updates

March 25, 2021

Top 6 Games to Play Physically Distant with No Equipment ›

As more and more schools transition back to in-person learning, we know educators are looking for games that are physically-distant and don’t require equipment. The need for play is more important than ever due to the isolation that our kids have endured during COVID-19. Play encourages creativity, flexibility, teamwork, and other critical social skills. We’ve…

March 12, 2021

Playworks: One Year Later ›

One year ago… All of our partner schools closed their buildings and our work serving kids in schools risked coming to a halt. We knew our mission had to continue. We remained committed to providing opportunities for joy and connection through play for kids in a COVID safe way, regardless if their school was virtual,…

December 15, 2020

Top 6 Games to Play Virtually ›

Many educators have risen to the challenge of transitioning their lessons to accommodate virtual education, and Playworks has been helping educators ensure play remains in every child’s day, even online. Kids prioritize play, and with our support educators are leveraging play when teaching virtually in order to keep kids engaged, active, and to build community.…