Project Coach is a nonprofit organization that empowers teenagers in Springfield, MA to work as tutors, coaches, and leaders.
Entering its 8th year as a nonprofit, Project Coach is an after-school youth development program that uses the vehicle of sports - and more specifically the empowerment of coaching - to improve the lives of underserved children in the Springfield. Using a proven curriculum developed over the 8 years Project Coach has been in operation, Smith College faculty and graduate students teach, train, and mentor high school youth from the Springfield Public Schools to become head soccer, volleyball, and basketball coaches for teams of 3rd - 5th grade elementary school students in their community. In our largest and most successful year ever, we are providing programming four days a week to over 50 teenagers and 250 elementary aged participants. We have added the new sports of volleyball and crew, have trained our coaches in a new literacy curriculum with sports-themed books, have a college-readiness module our coaches complete, and offer each teen a personal academic coach to help them succeed in school.
Project Coach is aiming to raise at least $5,000 to match a newly received grant to promote one of our female teenage coaches to a position of leadership within our organization. Many of our veteran coaches have more than enough experience and leadership abilities to successfully train other coaches, make decisions about our organization, plan and deliver trainings, and oversee aspects of our program. The Kate Risley Foundation generously awarded $5,000 to Project Coach with the condition that we match the grant in order to promote two females into leadership positions. We believe creating these leadership positions is crucial to showing that females can be leaders in sports, coaching, and nonprofits. We expect these females to mentor and encourage the newer female coaches and help both retain and attract more female coaches to our program. As we provide sports programming to both males and females, we also believe having females in our leadership will encourage our young female participants to stay involved in sports, become coaches themselves, and feel confident about their ability to become leaders.