Every Thursday the grass fields at Casa Pacifica come alive with laughter as resident foster youth learn various sports from Sports Academy coaches. They learn skills and how to work together. However, as much as this is a story about learning sports, it is a bigger story about the power of positive relationships between foster youth and the coaches who believe in the individual capacity of each youth.
“How do you quantify this Sports Academy Foundation relationship?” said Vicki Murphy, Director of Transitional Youth Services at Casa Pacifica. “What Sports Academy coaches have already done for these youth is immeasurable and we are blessed and grateful beyond words to be partnering with them.”
This summer Sports Academy Foundation hosted five Casa Pacifica youth in a Full Circle Athlete program at Sports Academy. During the five weeks they learned Close Quarters Defense®, improved their mental skills in the mindset lab, trained in the sports performance gym, and each trained one-on-one with a coach in the sport of their choice. The success of that program inspired Vicki and Deb Richard, Executive Director of Sports Academy Foundation, to design a broader reach program that could be delivered at Casa Pacifica.
“I am so glad we can provide sports programming at Casa Pacifica on a regular basis. It allows us an opportunity to positively influence a larger group of kids,” said Deb Richard. “Their personal growth is accelerating so much as our coaches are able to consistently mentor them.”
During the course of the year, six different sports will be introduced in two-month cycles. The program initiated in October with soccer being led by Sports Academy’s Director of Soccer, Jayro Martinez. The program provided an excellent foundation for the program to grow from as so many of the kids already had a passion for the sport.
Jayro passed the program over to Jenny Kenyon, Sports Academy’s Director of Track and Endurance, who shared, “working with Casa Pacifica staff and kids is one of the highlights of my job. To be able to introduce kids to the sport I love and see them begin setting goals and getting excited about improving is priceless.”
Through these experiences, the youth are gaining confidence in their abilities and they are chasing bigger dreams. Two of the Full Circle Athletes have shared they will be going out for their high school track teams. A decision they directly correlate to their experience at Sports Academy over the summer.
Sports Academy Foundation is looking forward to continuing this Empowerment Through Sport program throughout 2017. Donations to Sports Academy Foundation will fund additional opportunities for Casa Pacifica youth to participate in transformational experiences.