By Jeanette Smith Americorps VISTA for BYW, September 22, 2020.
By summer’s end, the Coaches in Training Program has evolved into a running business of rising high school board members who created the tagline: Hungry For Change, Planting Some Knowledge, Plotting for the Future. If you are wondering, What is the Coaches in Training program? Read this introductory article and then read all about their gardening projects under the News section.
Forbes Magazine article “Why Wrestlers Make the Best Employees” highlights the everyday athlete’s mentality in the workforce, “The one constant observation is that wrestlers have a capacity to push themselves harder than most and display an unrivaled mental toughness—”
To dive deeper into this correlation between wrestling and work, take a look here. The summer Coaches in Training (CIT) program incorporates entrepreneurship to tap into these career-ready successes for our student-athletes.
This summer, 12 CITs banded together under Boston Youth Wrestling to build out the first entrepreneurial venture as part of its fifth running season. The program tackled the issue of food accessibility in their community. By combining the Health and Wellness segment of the coaching program with their business venture, The Hungry Wrestler, the desired outcome has focused on the long term, sustainable solution.
But that was not all. The CITs felt each other’s hunger for change just as Helen Maroulis hungered for the women’s Olympic gold medal. They knew that by sharing their newly harnessed health and wellness knowledge, that change could happen. But how?
Two guest speakers, Dr. David Kimball, a business professor at Elms College, and Yarty Kim, an entrepreneur and co-founder of A4E Consulting Services Llp provided a soundboard for the CITs to ask questions about accounting and taxes. One CIT eagerly asked the guest speakers, “How does a small business like ours start out advertising our product? How do we get people attracted to our product?”
“Getting a first-hand experience from people who are real entrepreneurs will be invaluable in our business project,” another CIT commented about the prospect of questioning experts in the field.
Moreover, the participants were quick to seize yet another opportunity for having a business professor available to offer college readiness advice, “What should we expect when we major in business? How can we fully prepare or educate ourselves before majoring in business? What are some things that we should be aware of when investing in the stock market? How can we efficiently start investing?”
The nascent board of rising high school student coaches ultimately wish to plant new roots with like-minded community partners. Fulfilling the duties in their executive board positions, they are meeting throughout the year to design a website with their branding to kick off their venture. The members believe a stronger network will make their locally grown food even more accessible to those most in need.
Prior to all of this, BYW has laid the groundwork, converting urban green spaces into locally grown food sources. As the process took shape, the participants’ aspirations grew too; CITs designed a presentation that evolved into a recipe book based on ingredients from the two gardens.
When asked: What was one thing you learned from working as a team to complete a shared goal? One CIT wrote the following reflection about the garden project presentation:
“I learned effective communication. We had three or four different platforms to communicate
To plot for the future, the members are creating a system around delivering The Hungry Wrestler’s fresh food to its community that incorporates its ingredient-specific recipes. This first year started small and intimate by sharing the harvest with the CIT participants’ close family and friends. They organized Community Day around the theme unity and community to showcase their hard work and to celebrate the growing season’s end while discussing big ideas for the future.
To store up the ripe tomatoes for the colder season, we are searching for a local community kitchen or restaurant to provide space for canning and jarring our harvest. For this first season, we wish to thank our generous sponsors with preserved tomatoes and more!
And in order to transport our food stores, we need to secure a cargo van. Looking ahead, we are also on the search for more green spaces to scale the production of locally grown food sources. Give us a shout out if any of these items resonate with you or if you would like to share information.
Be on the lookout for an upcoming website with more information specific to The Hungry Wrestler initiative!