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Coach Sam and LaRod Jones

Coaching Corps coach Sam Fein knows coaching can change lives. “Through coaching, you can give kids more confidence, raise their self-esteem and provide them with a chance to grow,” he says.

One of the kids he is watching chart a path to success is 14-year-old LaRod Jones. LaRod says he loves “everything” about basketball, and wants to play NCAA in college. He has other dreams, too, like going to University of Southern California and becoming a zoologist. He says working with Fein and Life Outside Basketball (LOB) keeps him thinking about school before sports, rather than the other way around, which he admits he used to do sometimes. Fein says he appreciates LaRod’s commitment, first to the skill-building clinics and now to LOB. “He shows up to everything,” Fein says, adding that LaRod’s dedication is part of what made the tutoring and basketball program succeed when it launched this year at Challengers Boys and Girls Club in South Central Los Angeles.

“I would like to think the program wouldn’t work if we didn’t have a couple kids who threw in their hats and went all in,” he says. LaRod says that he gets all his homework done during the tutoring sessions, and school has gotten much easier. He says Fein has taught him some pretty good basketball moves, too. That’s why he has become a strong advocate for the program, telling his friends “It’s great to come here,” and by recruiting seven friends to join him at LOB.

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