It is this love of others that motivated me to volunteer full time as an After School Program Specialist for Girls in the Game. For the past 5 months I have been participating in a year of service program with Amate House, and it has been some of the toughest, but most rewarding months of my life. Amate House, an organization associated with the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, gives volunteers the opportunity to explore the tenants of faith, service, social justice, community, and stewardship. I decided to volunteer at Girls in the Game because I wanted to put my faith into action by not only by sharing my love of sports with girls, but also by showing them that there was someone who loved and cared about them.
One of my coaching assignments is McGuane Park, where I work with 3rd-5th grade girls. During programming we were doing an activity where the girls had to write on a piece of paper some personal quality that made them special. The papers would get passed around and everyone had to guess who wrote which characteristic. I was surprised when one of my 4th graders wrote “I am not special.” The participant’s father and brother had told her that she was not special and she believed it. This comment sparked a discussion between myself, the other coaches, and the participant. Promoting a positive self esteem is one of my main focuses as a coach. I talked with the girl about some of her gifts and talents. She often shows us her drawings, so I told her that she was a good artist. The other participants agreed and expressed how happy they were to have her as a friend and teammate. I think the participant took these compliments to heart when she finally cracked a smile. One reason why I love working for Girls in the Game is that our programs teach girls how to love themselves and how to affirm others. I know that I will not be able to promote a positive self-esteem for every girl in Chicago, but I know I am making a difference one participant at a time.
Until next time,