Coaching Corps Launches The First Coaching Corps Hall of Fame

Digital campaign shows the transformative power
well-trained coaches have on kids’ lives

CONTACT: Jessica Scadron, 415-713-9150, jscadron@socialharmony.co

OAKLAND, Calif. – January 14, 2019 – Coaching Corps Hall of Fame – the first community-centered campaign that gives people a way to honor and build support for special coaches who have impacted their lives – launches today. The campaign celebrates inspirational coaches who deserve recognition for helping kids be their best. The Coaching Corps Hall of Fame is a project of Coaching Corps, an organization building a movement so every child has access to great coaches like the ones honored in the Coaching Corps Hall of Fame.

“There are many halls of fame that recognize professional coaches and athletes, but no real way to honor the unsung heroes who change kids’ lives every day,” said Janet Carter, president and CEO of Coaching Corps. “We’re giving people the means to celebrate their coaches’ impact while raising awareness about how youth in low-income communities do not have access to sports mentors the way their middle- and upper-income peers do.”

To increase a coach’s chance of being inducted, nominators need to build support among their communities for their coaches by sharing their coach’s page on Facebook, then encourage their network to like, share and comment on the page. The Coaching Corps Hall of Fame will rank coaches by a combination of likes, shares and comments. The top four coaches with the highest scores will be inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame in April.

The Coaching Corps Hall of Fame will also invite nominators to raise funds for Coaching Corps. Each donation will go directly to supporting Coaching Corps volunteer coaches across the country to mentor young people through sports.

How it works:

  • January 14 – January 21: During the first week of the campaign, the Hall of Fame will invite people to share their coachisms – their coach’s favorite catchphrases, triumphs and fashion sense – on social media using the hashtag #coachisms.
  • January 14 – March 31: People can nominate a special coach who inspired them to be their best. Once a person nominates a coach, they will be prompted to build support for their coach by driving people to their coach’s unique nomination page and to Facebook.
  • Coaching Corps Hall of Fame Selection: The top four coaches with the most activity on their nomination pages will be inducted into the Coaching Corps Hall of Fame in April 2019.

The Coaching Corps Hall of Fame was created to give people a way to honor sports mentors who played a significant role in their lives. Coaching Corps believes every child needs a caring mentor to realize their full potential. Unlike their middle- and upper-income peers, kids in low-income communities want to play sports, but often do not have access to a key ingredient – a qualified, trained coach – to fill that vital mentor role. Having a strong role model can have an outsized impact on kids facing the daily stresses of poverty. Coaching Corps designed the highest quality program to train, support and engage sports mentors across the country so children in low-income neighborhoods have access to sports mentors.

To learn more, visit the Coaching Corps Hall of Fame.

About Coaching Corps

Since 2012, Coaching Corps has been fueling a movement of skilled coaches to give kids in underserved communities the sports mentors they want and deserve. By partnering with over 500 afterschool programs across the country, Coaching Corps has provided more than 150,000 underprivileged kids with the opportunity to play sports under the guidance of a caring, well-trained coach. Informed by the latest research on youth character development, Coaching Corps trains coaches to foster persistence, optimism, self-regulation and empathy in kids, providing coaches with the ongoing support they need to ensure girls and boys in under-resourced communities learn skills that last lifetimes. Based in Oakland, California, Coaching Corps is a 501(c)(3) organization. More information about Coaching Corps can be found at www.coachingcorps.org.

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Going Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Benita Vargas-Brown, Volleyball Coach at Hampstead Hill Academy

Benita Vargas-Brown grew up in one of the poorest parts of Baltimore. She always wanted to make a difference in the city, which is why she became a social worker. That same passion eventually led her to coach and mentor kids in sports. Learn more about Benita’s journey in her own words.
How did you become a Coaching Corps coach?
I didn’t go looking for coaching, it found me. I was really stressed with my job and my final semester in undergrad, so my husband said, “You’re really not helping yourself. Why don’t you leave your job, take the semester off, and figure out what you want to do next?” So, I went to a volunteering fair, and that’s when I got to know Coaching Corps. It was destiny: They were looking for a volleyball coach, and I am qualified to coach volleyball. They said they needed a coach for Hampstead Hill Academy, which is literally just a walk away from our home. So, it was really perfect.
Can you tell us more about the challenges that the kids you coach face at school and at home?
When people hear Baltimore, crime and violence are among the usual challenges that come to mind, so it was extra important to keep the kids off the streets. I’ve had to drive some of the girls home so they don’t have to take the bus when it’s dark.
There have also been some differences among the girls. The school is located at Patterson Park, where on one side you have the million-dollar houses, and on the other you have boarded-up houses. So you wind up having kids coming from privileged and underprivileged situations. This created some interesting dynamics within the team that led to some difficult conversations, but we got through it eventually. That’s one of the benefits of team sports. We got this whole learning experience that wound up really positive at the end.
You mentioned something about “interesting team dynamics.” Can you share more about that?
This is actually one of the things I’m proudest [of] about my team. The girls take it upon themselves to address differences within the group. At one point, it became very clear during our practice that something wasn’t right. We were on this championship drive but there was obvious tension within the team. The girls came to me and gathered as a group to talk things through. The fact that they came up with that strategy on their own is really amazing. For me, it meant that we’re doing something right. After that talk, we got back together as a team. I’m so glad we did it because I know for a fact we wouldn’t have won the championship without sorting things out. Everybody makes mistakes. At the end of the day, what’s important is to be there and have each other’s backs.
What changes or improvements did you see in the girls as a result of being on the team?
The most obvious one would be the sense of maturity. To be in a position where you have a responsibility over something, to be able to practice and play, there are expectations. If you didn’t come to practice on Wednesday, you’re not going to play on Thursday: that’s the consequence for skipping practice.  Eventually it wasn’t the consequence that really drove them. It was their commitment.
All my [Coaching Corps] girls who tried out for high school sports made their teams. There are two highly-rated schools in Baltimore, Baltimore Polytechnic institute and Baltimore City College. To get into those schools is every parent’s and kid’s dream. They have great education and high graduation rates, and they don’t tolerate gang-related violence, which creates a safer environment for the kids. Fifteen of the girls from the team got in and played for Poly while 13 went to City. That makes me really happy.
Wow! If there’s one way to describe success and promoting equity, that would be it. With all these experiences, what advice would you give aspiring coaches and mentors for kids?
Show up. You have to be there. You have to be consistent. You can’t cancel on these kids. Over the course of my time, if I know something’s going to come up in my schedule, I plan for an assistant coach to take over. Kids know if you care. You can figure out everything else, there are Youtube videos for that. You just have to show up because these kids expect you to be there for them.
Afterschool Partners

Orlando

Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida

City of Orlando Athletics

Afterschool Program Partners

Other

JT Dorsey Foundation

Afterschool Program Partners

San Diego

Gompers Preparatory Academy

High Tech High

La Maestra Foundation – Center for Youth Advancement at Generations

The Monarch School

Pro Kids | The First Tee of San Diego

Soccer Kids America

YMCA of San Diego County

Afterschool Program Partners

Los Angeles

A Place Called Home

AFFIRMATIVE ATHLETICS

After School All Stars: Los Angeles

Boys & Girls Club of Venice

Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles

Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica

Boys and Girls Clubs of the LA Harbor

Brotherhood Crusade

City of Huntington Park Department of Parks

East Los Angeles Rising Youth Club

Equitas Academy

Girls on the Run of Los Angeles

Girls Play Los Angeles

ICES Education

IMPACTO

L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs

Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine

Los Angeles Rec and Parks

Major League Baseball Youth Academy

Norwalk La Mirada Unified

P.F. Bresee Foundation

Sloane Stephens Foundation

Street Soccer USA: Los Angeles

Team Prime Time

Variety Boys & Girls Club

Watts Rams

YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles

Afterschool Program Partners

ATLANTA

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta: Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls Club
Afterschool Program Partners

Boston

All Dorchester Sports and Leadership

Boston Centers for Youth & Families

Boston SCORES

Cambridge Community Center

East End House

Oak Square YMCA

Sole Train: Boston Runs Together