The AmeriCorps Coach of the Month is an honor we give coaches who have gone above and beyond during their service. This honor cannot be won. It can only be given. Our first honoree of the 2014-15 school year is Eric Payne. During our preservice training, Eric’s openness and willingness to build connections with his coworkers impressed us. He constantly went out of his way to bring people up, and help others feel comfortable in their new roles. He also demonstrated a lot of courage, frequently volunteering to step out of his comfort zone and into play. Since beginning the year as his school, Eric has garnered praise from teachers and administrators for his excellent organizational skills and open communication. For all of this and so much more, we honor Coach Payne. To find out more about this exceptional AmeriCorps Member, read the interview below.
What is your background and experience?
I’m 23 years young and I have a BS from the University of Utah in Human Development and Family Studies. It’s through this education that I have the knowledge of how and when kids learn essential skills in their development. I’ve spent several hundred hours volunteering at different places including the Boys & Girls Club and the Salvation Army. I have a deep passion for learning and an even deeper passion for seeing children learn.
What drew you to being a coach with Playworks?
Engaging kids in play is one of my favorite things to do. Children absolutely come to life when they play, and they often learn certain skills for the first time while they play. If I can help children flourish and grow, and make it fun at the same time, to me that’s a dream come true.
What kind of reception have you had so far this year from teachers?
I’m lucky that this is the third year Copperview Elementary has had Playworks. I feel completely woven into the school community even though it’s my first year being a Playworks coach. It’s clear that the staff knows that we're all a team with the same common goal.
What's your favorite part about being an AmeriCorps member?
I’m so inspired knowing that AmeriCorps is making so many differences in dozens of different areas. We’re a nation of do-gooders doing good across the country and I feel honored to say that I’m a part of it.