With a new year, comes a brand new Coach of the Month, Devin Young! This is Devin’s first year as an AmeriCorps member with Playworks North Carolina, and she has been working hard at Spring Valley Elementary School in Durham. Devin was selected as the newest Coach of the Month based on her amazing dedication to the work she is doing inside of her school and her tendency to go above and beyond in all that she does.
Each week Devin stays at her school long after the bell has rung. Not only is she helping with her schools after school program, but she also stays to help with a basketball clinic that is run at Spring Valley two nights a week. Helping with this basketball clinic makes for some long work days for Devin, but that is just more evidence of how serious she takes the community building aspect of her job.
Another way Devin has reached the community near Spring Valley is by planning and running her Community Engagement Initiative. This year, AmeriCorps members serving with Playworks were challenged to come up with two Community Engagement Initiatives that would increase family engagement at their children’s schools through school community events and connect more of the community to the Playworks program. Not only was Devin the first AmeriCorps member in North Carolina to successfully plan and execute one Community Engagement Initiative event, but she was also the first within Playworks’ national organization!
When Devin reached out to her school community, many staff members and administration expressed concern in there not being enough activities at school that provided a fun opportunity for parents and students to come together. Staff wanted there to be an activity that was established at Spring Valley for parents to attend school to see their children get exposed to something different. After hearing this, Devin decided that a family fitness night centered around basketball would be a great community engagement event. On December 10th, after much planning and preparation, Devin hosted her event with 20 families from her school in attendance! The night started off with an introduction from Coach Devin and some stretches to get all students and parents warmed up. Students and families were broken up into groups based on grade level. The groups rotated through various basketball stations getting the chance to improve their skills and have fun with others from the school community. Some of the stations included, shooting, dribbling, practicing the perfect lay-up, defense and passing. After the groups made it through all stations, Coach Devin lead each group in a game of Super Star Knock Out!
Coach Devin has been a wonderful addition to Playworks North Carolina and we are consistently proud of the work she does both inside and outside her school. Devin’s Program Manager, Janelle Averill, sums it up wonderfully when she says, “I think the standout point with Devin is that she truly understands and believes in service. She views it as being very important and is always trying to make sure she is giving the best to her students and school community.”
Congratulations Devin, and thanks for all that you do!
Get to Know Coach Devin:
What first interested you in Playworks?
I became interested in Playworks because I love working with children. Their innocence and genuineness inspires me to be a more positive person. Thus, I identified with Playworks' goal of ensuring that play is a positive experience for kids. I also liked the idea of working with a low-income community as they are often the most in need and receive the least resources to better their experience.
What is your favorite sport to watch? What is your favorite sport to participate in?
My favorite sport to watch and participate in is basketball.
What is your favorite comfort food?
Definitely chocolate, in any shape or form. Nutella is my downfall.
What is your favorite Playworks component and why?
My favorite component of Playworks is Class Game Time because working with a smaller group gives you an opportunity to really impart knowledge and make progress with the students.
What is your favorite season and why?
My favorite season is spring. It is so exciting to see the life come back into nature again. When I was younger the sunshine and anticipation of summer break always put me in a good mood, and I learned to love it!
What Playworks core value are you most drawn to and why?
I am most drawn to inclusion. When I was younger, I had some problems fitting in with others. I know the feeling of being excluded, and how hurtful it can be. However, I also know how good it feels to be included. This can make someone's day, warm their heart, and change their whole perspective, making it incredibly valuable.