For the past six weeks 25 Park High School soccer players have mentored 10-11 years old recreational league soccer players. The four week program, not only focuses on helping younger soccer players with their skills but also sharing with them how to prevent injuries, building endurance and what it takes to be a team player. This student athlete mentoring program began in 2006. This program is a collaborative effort between Park High School and the Livingston Youth Soccer Association. Since inception, this program gives students the opportunity to complete potentially 15 of 40 service hours required to graduate from Park High.
While maintaining rigorous school and sometimes work schedules these athletes not only attend soccer practices, but they attend games and help LYSA in other ways. Just recently some of these athletes helped LYSA pick rocks at Livingston’s newest city park – Northside Park and Soccer Fields.
These athletes enjoyed participating in this year’s program so much that they are looking forward to doing it again next year. When asked how things could be different in the coming year, the responses overwhelming included the idea that the program should be longer. These athletes want to spend more time connecting with youth and passing on their love of soccer.
This program is a win-win collaboration and goes full circle – many of the students who started out as “mentees” are now mentoring others. The program though, is not developed overnight. Dedicated parents Barbara Stewart and Amy Titgemeir began planning and organizing back in May. Many hours were spent coordinating the student athletes schedules with the younger soccer players.
Since Northside Park and Soccer Fields are opening in 2011, these athletes were asked how they think the park will benefit Livingston as a community. While the athletes are looking forward to playing on brand new fields, they recognized that being able to host tournaments will help out the local economy. It just goes to show how our younger generation truly is the future of our community.