AmeriCorps Coach Inspires Youth Leaders

Our Playworks AmeriCorps coaches make a positive impact every day at each of the schools we serve in Southern California. Coaches transform schools, engage communities, and inspire youth leaders.

During AmeriCorps Week we celebrate their commitment to service and getting things done on playgrounds all over Southern California. Here’s an inspiring story from AmeriCorps Coach Kelsey Nugent:

In my school, there are many strong, powerful personalities. These students tend to take up a lot of their teacher’s and supervision aides’ attention. The supervision team at my school often is distracted by these intense personalities, so at times, the more reserved students do not get as much attention from the staff. When selecting my Junior Coaches, I picked students who were a little quieter so I could coach them out of their shells.

One Junior Coach, in particular, had very little confidence in herself. During our Junior Coach meetings, she would rarely raise her hand or participate in our discussions. When doing group agreements before recess, she would keep her head down and her voice low. She was very dependent on my approval before solving any sort of conflict on the playground.

In our Junior Coach meetings after school, I modeled how to speak in a coach voice and gave her opportunities to get comfortable speaking in front of a small group of peers. I gave her more responsibilities like passing out rewards to other kids with positive behavior.

Six weeks later, this Junior Coach completely turned around! One recess, before doing group agreements, she pulled me aside and asked if she could lead group agreements because she had been practicing at home and felt ready to use her authoritative voice. I was blown away! This shy, quiet, butterfly had burst out of her cocoon in full force. I stood in the back of the hundreds of students and could hear her powerful voice.

After this, I believe her actions boosted her confidence, and her growth was inspiring to see. She is now participating in Junior Coach meetings and even solving conflicts by enforcing ro-sham-bo without getting me involved!

This confidence has spilled over into her classroom, as her teacher has noticed the shift in her self-esteem as well. My Junior Coach is now participating more in class and even using her newly found confidence to empower the other kids in her class to join her.

Her teacher came and told me that she is going to nominate my Junior Coach for a citizenship award because of her ability to help others in class.

Her transformation has really inspired my other Junior Coaches, too. We are all feeling empowered by this superstar Junior Coach! I’m proud to know that I was able to impact her leadership growth in a positive way.

Coach Kelsey helps students at Monte Vista Elementary School work together to learn recess games and practice fair play and conflict resolution.

These Junior Coaches become young leaders teaching these skills to their classmates. During this AmeriCorps Week, we celebrate all of our #IAMAmeriCorps coaches’ hard work to empower fourth- and fifth-graders to take on leadership roles and improve their school communities.

Coach Kelsey and the 2017-2018 SoCal Coach Crew with office staff

Interested in becoming a Playworks AmeriCorps member?

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