Two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses capped off a four-day coaching conference for Boston-area youth coaches Tuesday afternoon at Boston University.
The Up2Us National Training institute was sponsored by Up2Us, a nonprofit that trains coaches from around the nation to provide mentorship and life skills to underserved children through athletics.
Many of the conference attendees were coaches or staff members in organizations that serve Boston Public School athletes, such as SquashBusters, America SCORES Boston, Metro Lacrosse, and Tenacity.
“From all of my colleagues around the world, I really want to congratulate you all,” Moses told more than 100 coaches seated in Metcalf Hall in George Sherman Union. “At the end of the day, it’s the dedication and the willingness to want to make a difference that puts us all in this room together. And that’s what it’s all about.”
Many of the coaches in attendance also participate in Up2Us's program called Coach Across America, which supports national youth development programs that use sports as a vehicle to improve the lives of kids.
Shanna Scuafri is a Coach Across America member who is training as a program assistant for the Boston Scholar Athletes program. She will work at Madison Park High as well as West Roxbury High.
“I think it’s really important that during this program we were able to meet people and other [Coach Across America] members from the local area,” Scuafri said. “I learned a lot about how to facilitate relationships with the kids. The greatest lesson I learned was that no kid is a lost cause. Each one of them deserves a chance to better themselves and you can also become a better person from it.”
Paul Caccamo, executive director of Up2Us, spoke about the importance of the conference along with how much growth he has witnessed in just four days.
“Everybody always talks about all the problems, just about the problems when coaching the kids," he told the coaches. "But you guys spent the last four days talking about the solutions and you are the solutions. This is a room full of heroes.”
The last day of the conference also included a brainstorming session during which the coaches talked about what they had learned and shared their individual accomplishments with the rest of their group.
“It’s really all about teaching the participants how to be skilled not only when coaching the kids, but just relating to them,” said Up2Us facilitator and trainer Vanessa Akhtar, who also attends Boston University. “It also means a lot to us to have such support and a great partner in the Laureus organization.”
Moses is chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, an international organization dedicated to facilitating worldwide programs of sports-related community projects that help protect kids from various social problems. Laureus has worked with more than 2 million children in more than 45 countries.
“When we talk about charitable organizations and our mission at Laureus," Moses said, "and all the people that we work with, at the end of the day, we consider all of the people with us as a part of our family.
“And it’s my honor to really welcome you today, as part of our family, as people who really make a small part of the world really valuable to someone else.”
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