Youth sports development organization talks with coaches on ways to prevent youth violence and trauma.
The nationwide leader in sports-based youth development, Up2Us Sports, brought 80 youth coaches together as the CEO and founder led a panel discussion on ways to prevent violence in youth through using sports to end out a four-day training on Tuesday Sept. 22.
As coaches of kids who may deal with trauma and violence in their neighborhoods, Up2Us felt it important to bring panelists, including the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development Anne Tremblay, Sports Program Lead for Sherriff’s Youth Foundation Bruce McCall, Jr., Director of Brotherhood Crusade George Weaver and ESPN Commentator Pam Shriver, along with Commanders Joseph Gooden and Black Chow.
“Today’s panel was very informative. I got a lot from it,” said Maria Hoz, one of the Us2Us coaches. “One thing that stood out to me the most was using the community and each other as resources really, not just the coaches that you work with, but everyone else, because we all work together.”
Up2Us has a special connection to focusing on youth violence this year, as one of their coaches was killed coming out of a Los Angeles Metro.
“In his memory, it’s time to just step up and say listen we’re tired of this and we as coaches, who specifically work with kids who face these threats every day, are going to do something about it,” said Paul Caccamo, founder and CEO of Up2Us Sport.
The organization decided to have a four-day training, beginning Saturday Sept. 19, that would completely focus on the responsibility of a coach to kids facing trauma and violence every day.
“The challenge is that those of us who coach sports or run sports programs don’t necessarily fully know how much responsibility we have towards being sure that that pathway is a positive pathway for kids,” Caccamo said. “We have to learn how we can address trauma, address violence through sports and we’re going to end that training in memory of that coach who we lost by talking about what else we need to do to make sports the most effective solution to violence prevention in this country.”
The four days covered content surrounding culture, practice and delivery. The coaches learned about how trauma affects the kids mentally and biologically, while finding techniques on when to talk to the kids and how to ask them how everything is going at school and at home. Overall, the goal of the training was on understanding the kids.
“This training was very powerful because in this whole concept of the sports –based youth development, we’ve always seen coaching in a different perspective,” said Kevin McAdoo, an athletic coordinator through Up2Us Sports. “As far as leveraging sports to where we focus on the fact that we’re not there just to coach a sport, but we’re there to help youth develop, it’s really important.”
This panel brought the training to a close, as the coaches were able to hear from other entities of youth development. They were able to see that there are many facets to youth development and gain a completely different perspective from their norm of always working with other coaches.
“This panel really brought it home, showing that we are just a part of the greater network of youth violent prevention of creating and stemming a movement to help our youth across the country succeed in every capacity,” said Dre De La Peza, Los Angeles program manager for Up2Us Sports. “We cannot do this alone as coaches, it has to be a collaboration with our local officials, with our police enforcement, with any other partner that is interested in doing this.”
For more information on how to get involved with Up2Us, visit www.up2us.org.