March 20, 2012
California student-athletes recently teamed up with Coaching Corps to welcome approximately 30 children from grades K-8 from after-school programs serving low-income girls and boys for a day of sports and skills building at Haas Pavilion.
The young athlete participants included The East Bay Soldiers, a youth co-ed basketball team from Richmond, the Starlings volleyball team from Oakland and Willard Middle School in Berkeley. Athletes ran the youth through drills and the Golden Bear volleyball team demonstrated how collegiate volleyball is played. Following the sports activities, players signed autographs and spoke to the group on their love of sports and the importance of sportsmanship and achieving excellence in the classrom.
"This weekend, volunteering with Coach Corp mentors and other fellow Bears was very rewarding," said Robin Rostratter from the Cal volleyball team. "I enjoyed teaching and playing with the energetic, young athletes and was able to see them improve throughout the course of the clinic."
In middle-class and affluent communities, parents spend thousands of hours and dollars to engage their children in high-quality organized sports. They do it because they know - from personal experience - that playing sports teaches children values and skills that help them succeed in school, at work and in life.
"I'm definitely going to college," said a 10-year old participant. "I want to be a Cal Bear!"
Not all kids are so lucky. Children living in poverty and communities of color lack safe places to play. Their schools have cut or eliminated physical education (PE) and their community organizations just don't have the dollars to offer anything more. This means these young people are denied the health, educational and confidence-boosting benefits that playing sports provides.
Coaching Corps exists to address this disparity, and through our partnership with the Cal Athletics Association, the organization aims to expose more kids to physical activity, sports and the benefits of a trained and caring coach. Utilizing the vehicle of sports, they are changing lives, strengthening futures and building community.