Over the years working with kids, through summer camps and school-year programs, stories emerge which reminding me why I am here helping lost kids.
Kids don’t have to have a disadvantaged background to be lost, but the kind of loss I have seen through the eyes of the students – well it could make a grown adult stagger. We want to empower young people to be brave, not be afraid to learn, work with the team – whether that is family or a sports team, or just a core group of friends and supporters. You get back what you put in, and never give up on your dreams.
Last summer, a student on their second day of summer camp, told the coach her mom had committed suicide just a few days before. We were honored this young lady allowed our coaches to help her through a difficult time – she did not retreat, and she is a Playmaker. She participated all summer and had a blast. Our goal is to stay connected with her throughout the school year and invite her to next summer’s program.
Students have found support through their peers. We change lives by empowering the students to help themselves. Our vision is to instill a pay-it-forward mentality in the students within their community.
— A couple of seasons ago when coaching football, a young man starting his sophomore year in high school – with a 3.0 G.P.A., I asked Kenny what his parents did for a living (what I am really doing is finding out if he lives with his Mom and Dad). HIS story: His parents brought him and his sister in on Christmas Day to tell them that they are getting a divorce. That was his reality of Christmas that year.
— Another child who was 11 years old and had lost his Dad to gang bullets
— These two Playmakers got together through the direction of a Playmaker Coach, and the older student agreed to mentor the younger one with the following goals:
1) They will read a book together in the summer
2) They will meet in July and discuss the book at The Playmakers camp
3) A.J. will be a guest at Kenny’s high school game. (Do you know how big that is for an 11 year old?)
By helping each other with a little encouragement from adults – these kids are investing in themselves. They are up to the challenge.
If you would like to follow other stories or participate in helping change young lives, you are invited to become part of The Playmakers Family. You can learn more about our core values here.
Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler is the Founder and Executive Director of Playmakers Mentoring Foundation. If you would like to invite Coach Roz to speak to your group, please contact us at www.ThePlaymakers.org