Oakland, CA –  Coaching Corps, a leader in coach mentoring and sports-based youth development, announced that it has received an award of $2 million in funding over three years from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. The grant will be used to support the development and implementation of Coaching Corps’ Coaching for Character Training and Support Program (CCTSP), which seeks to integrate positive character-building into afterschool sports programming, through qualities including persistence, optimism, self-regulation and empathy (POSE).

Coaching Corps’ nationally-recognized program addresses the need for youth in underserved communities to have access to afterschool sports with a trained coach that serves as a mentor and role model. Coaching Corps recruits, trains and supports energetic community members to use sports to teach kids valuable life lessons and inspire them to reach their full potential. By integrating sports with youth development tactics, coaches create positive, inclusive and safe environments that enhance engagement, physical activity, skill-building and character-building. With the Foundation’s support, Coaching Corps coaches will learn how to foster POSE in afterschool programs and the youth they serve.

“The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation is proud to support Coaching Corps in its endeavor to positively impact youth through sports and a trained, qualified coach,” said Alex Hooker, Program Officer for the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. “We are excited to see Coaching Corps’ character development initiative not only enhance coach training and support, but also influence youth to be their best selves both on and off the field.”

“We are excited by the opportunity to equip Coaching Corps coaches with the tools they need to deepen their positive impact on young people through a season of sports,” said Janet Carter, executive director of Coaching Corps. “The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation has been a long-standing supporter of Coaching Corps. We are inspired and motivated by their continued commitment to instill good character in young people through the power of sports with a trained coach.”

Working in partnership with community members and afterschool programs, Coaching Corps seeks to provide close to 2,000 coaches to over 20,000 youth during the 2016 – 2017 program year.

About the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation:

The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation hopes to realize a productive, vibrant, and sustainable California that is a model of success and a source of innovation.  The Foundation envisions children and youth developing the knowledge, skills, and character to participate fully as informed citizens, explore and understand the world around them, and take responsibility for the environment. Recognizing that adults – both in and out of the classroom – play a pivotal role in building character in young people, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation invests in youth-serving organizations in California and across the nation that are committed to using data to improve and sustain the character development practices of adult staff and volunteers at scale.


About Coaching Corps

Since 2002, Coaching Corps has been dedicated to harnessing the power of service and sports to inspire and mentor youth in underserved communities. Coaching Corps recruits, trains and supports thousands of volunteers who create opportunities for kids to participate in high-quality afterschool sports programs that allow them to embrace a healthy lifestyle and reach their full potential. Based in Oakland, California, Coaching Corps is a 501(c)(3) organization. More information about Coaching Corps can be found at

Media Contact:

Stacey Manley
Director of Marketing and Communications – Coaching Corps

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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


Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida

City of Orlando Athletics

Afterschool Program Partners


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


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


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


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


All Dorchester Sports and Leadership

Boston Centers for Youth & Families


Cambridge Community Center

East End House

Oak Square YMCA

Sole Train: Boston Runs Together