I want to start by saying how impressed I am with the Play and Learn Foundation as a whole and how far it has come in such a short amount of time. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering for the foundation. It has been such a rewarding experience developing a relationship with the kids and watching them grow as athletes and students. I was constantly impressed with their abilities on and off the field, which is a testament to how well they have been coached and taught up to this point.
I love how the foundation has been able to bring together boys from all over the community, developing a team that supports and looks out for one another. I know the kids learn how to be dedicated, hardworking, and disciplined at training which will no doubt translate into other area of their lives. For such a large group of kids with such a wide range of ages they were, for the most part, well behaved and focused during training. I can tell how much they all truly love football, and how much they appreciate Play and Learn giving them the opportunity to develop that passion. I think that it really helped to have more structured training sessions to keep things more organized and teach the kids to be attentive and follow directions effectively. I also think it was great how much the importance of the learning portion was emphasized. I think it is great that the kids are exposed to university students and community hopefully inspiring them to pursue higher education and opportunities outside of football. I know all the kids have so much respect for the coaches who were all excellent role models for them. It was very fun to have the kids play the coaches, I think that is something that should be continued. It was also so rewarding to see how the number of girls who came to training grew as the semester continued!
Here are a few things I think might help improve the foundation for the future. I think taking attendance consistently at training and learning sessions would help to hold kids accountable and force them to be more committed to both football and learning. I also think that the learning groups should be based on abilities rather than age so that they those that need it can get more attention and feel more comfortable as they progress. I think it would be helpful to suggest that the teachers meet at least once a month and discuss what they plan on going over with their students and allow them to share ideas and activities because it was sometimes difficult to think of engaging a helpful activity for the students to do. It would also be helpful to be in a more classroom-like setting to have more resources available for the kids and to help them be a bit more focused and serious during the sessions. I also think it would be helpful for the older kids to go over things like, how to fill out a job application or apply to schools to help encourage them to pursue such opportunities.
Again, I just want to express how impressed I am with the foundation; it is an incredible thing for the community. Just giving them a constructive place to go and a productive way for the kids to expend their energy has a huge impact on their lives and development. I think that organizations rooted in the community like Play and Learn are the most effective way to initiate change and growth in an area. You should be very proud of what you have created and the opportunities you are making available to these kids. It has been an honour to be a part of the Play and Learn Foundation even for a short amount of time. Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do to continue to help out in the future.