This is my third year as a Playworks AmeriCorps Coach. In my first two years as a coach I worked with over 1,000 students, and this year it will be even more.
Most of the schools I have served have been in the neighborhood where I grew up. My first Playworks school was one that I was quite familiar with. It was a school I ran around as an infant, a place I would go when I was sick—it was my mother’s workplace for 17 years.
The second school I served was a school in the very same district I grew up in. It was a school where I played community basketball. A school some of my best friends went to as a kid. I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to serve in schools near and dear to my heart, schools that are right down the road from where I live now.
When I think about how a Playworks Coach can impact students’ lives, at first it’s hard for me to think I’ve made a huge difference. After all, I haven’t stayed at a school longer than a year.
But even though I no longer directly serve these schools, I have a lasting tie with many of the students. Over the past few years, I have had many small reunions with my past students, from run-ins at the store to trick-or-treating at my house on Halloween. By far my favorite reunion was with two of my 5th grade students.
It was Senior Night at my old high school’s volleyball game. All community volleyball players from the elementary and middle schools were invited to attend the game for free. That night I took my niece to watch the game.
While there, I ran into Samantha and Gabby. These girls were two of my 5th graders last year. They both played on my co-ed volleyball team, and Samantha was one of my Junior Coaches. These two girls are like the dynamic duo of positivity. They are both amazing students and ridiculously sweet girls.
The reunion I had with them was bittersweet. I was ecstatic to run into them but also sad to have to leave them again. When I went over and said hi, they both jumped out of their seats and gave me a giant hug. We were all smiling uncontrollably as they told me that they now played for their middle school volleyball team, and my heart glowed with pride.
Before we parted ways Samantha made sure to ask me about one of our old Playworks volleyball cheers so she could teach it to her team.
The wonderful thing about being a Playworks AmeriCorps Coach is that no matter how long or how short a coach serves at a school, they not only have an impact on the students, but the students also have a lasting impact on the coach.
Interested in becoming a Playworks AmeriCorps member?