QUESTION: Outside of Coach Tracy, that seems like how you ended up here, what else do you come up here for, or what do you think about this place?
ANSWER: What do I think about this place? The program Coach King doin, I think he doin a good job cause he keepin kids off the street. Some of these boys I see in here, breakin in cars. I seen ‘em hop in a lady’s car. But I see ‘em out here, I see ‘em in the gym, instead of them being on the street, so that’s a good thing Coach King is doin. Cause he like really changing ‘em. Like the changes I had, he making the changes with them. I know they are younger than me, so they gonna feel it if they out here in the street. They gonna see it, they gonna get the time if they get caught with anything. So, I just pray for everybody and tell them to be safe. But, like the job Coach King doin, I think he doing good. All of y’all doing good, showin that y’all love us. If nobody got y’all, we got y’all. That’s how I feel on all the coaches. Cause Coach Tracy, he was on the same type of stuff, but he do different things. We be in the gym, he just leave. But Coach King, he got an afterschool program, he got the boys in here hooping, he got games going on in there. He’s multi-tasking doin thangs to help kids stay out the street. So, that’s why I like coming here and I like the job that Coach King is doing, that y’all doing, to keep us in this gym, not outside these streets doin illegal things.
QUESTION: What keeps you coming back, man? What keeps you coming back to the recreation center?
ANSWER: Coach King’s motivation speeches.
QUESTION: Coming back to the recreation center, you were talking about the importance of feeling welcomed in a new place. What’s happened since you’ve been here that makes you feel that way?
ANSWER: Basically, I figure that, well, my dad doesn’t live with us. If I can go here to a gym where there is positive men around me that can give me wisdom that my dad can’t give me do to the fact he’s not here. He’s in my life but he’s not physically here.
QUESTION: What are you accepting?
ANSWER: The knowledge teaching. Last time the key word was love, basically. Even though people say love is a powerful word and it’s a strong emotion, you can’t always say that you love someone and don’t mean it. But, if you have someone who says they love you and really mean it and they don’t really know anything about you that means they see potential in you and I figure that these guys see potential in me. They know I can be somewhere and something in life and they don’t want to see me end up on the street, in jail or in the grave somewhere. They are trying to save a young life before something happens to it. Because maybe when they were younger there was somebody that couldn’t do that for them and somewhere along the line they messed up and they got their act together and said wait, if I can have a chance in life to do this, to save another young man’s life and make sure he don’t make the same mistakes that we made, then I will do that.
QUESTION: What’s motivating about the speeches and stuff?
ANSWER: Like, how he just be telling us from the past, like what he seen, cause I know he’s a older head, and like he seen more stuff than me. He probably seen a lots of stuff. I just take that as a good way to keep me moving, keep my blood pumpin. That’s what it basically is, to keep my blood pumpin. Keep me into basketball, all that, never give up, things like that.
Statements from 17-Year Old Youth of SNFChildren, Inc.
Interview Courtesy of Coach Cameron K. Herman