When you’re with kids for an entire season, and you see them get better, you improve their experience, that was really special for me.
Favorite athlete: Tom Brady (Quarterback for the New England Patriots)
Favorite sport to play: Hockey
Favorite sport to coach: Soccer
It’s clear right away that Alessandro Schooley, Sandro to his friends, has always been passionate about playing sports. Sandro grew up experiencing the positive impact of playing sports, and now as a student at Boston College he wants to pass that impact on. As a kid, says Sandro, “I played sports with people who weren’t as lucky [as I was]… I knew people who didn’t have the chance to play all year. It was really important for me to have that experience, and at Boston College [through Coaching Corps], it was an opportunity for me to help adjust that problem.”
Some parts of the Boston area have a wealth of resources, while others are underserved. The result of this divide is that some youth have plenty of access to sports and some have none, or as Sandro calls it a “sports gap.” The problem Sandro is referring to is one that Coaching Corps is trying to solve by providing quality training and placement of coaches in afterschool programs in under-resourced communities.
After completing his coach training, Sandro began coaching at the Boys and Girls club on Allston Street in Boston, which turned out to be a particularly rewarding and meaningful experience. “We were there to coach basketball,” he recalled, “five or six of us [Coaching Corps coaches], we walked into this gym the first day and it was just a free for all.” The kids were excited and full of energy, andit took some time to develop a rhythm and a rapport. For 16 weeks, practices were held on Friday nights and games occurred on Saturday mornings. The resulting transformation was remarkable. “By the end of the season,” Sandro said, “we had playoff brackets, jerseys for the kids to wear and a little draft.” Additionally, and most importantly, the kids had improved not only their athletic skills, but also their abilities and desires to communicate and work together.
“When you’re with kids for an entire season, and you see them get better, you improve their experience, that was really special for me,” Sandro said.
The tangible transformations over the course of a season provide measurable evidence of the success of the Coaching Corps model. However, the youth aren’t the only ones who benefit. While he’s not sure exactly what he wants to do after graduation, Sandro is certain of one thing, “I definitely want to stay involved in volunteering going forward,” an inclination he attributes largely to his experience with Coaching Corps. Until then, Sandro is continuing to work with Coaching Corps. “The seniors I met when I was a freshmen were special because they reached out and were deeply interested in the Coaching Corps mission” says Sandro, who will extend that enthusiasm as a Coaching Corps Team Captain, which means in addition to coaching he will be recruiting new members.
Much like those who inspired him as a freshman, there is no doubt that Sandro’s enthusiasm and dedication to working with youth in his community will encourage a new crop of coaches dedicated to eliminating the “sports gap.”