In our first Field Champion Spotlight we’d like you to meet Octavio Valente. Valente has been with The Pure Game since 2012, meeting our President and Founder Tony Everett when he was running a program at Jerome Park, Valente’s neighborhood park. Valente, who grew up playing soccer, was eager to join the program, and the rest is history. Check out more of his story below and how The Pure Game is making a strong impact in our communities.
The Pure Game: What makes Pure Game unique?
Octavio Valente: I love the positive and safe environment that Tony created when I was a student participating in the program. After a couple of months, Tony had the great idea that he could get us in neighboring schools doing the same activities we did at Jerome Park. My brothers and I started to volunteer and run programs ourselves, while Tony worked on getting the resources to grow the program. After six months of volunteering, my brother and I got hired.
TPG: How did you get involved with Pure Game?
OV: I’ve been a part of The Pure Game for eight years, and every school year, I’m really happy and motivated to continue to work for The Pure Game because not only do I get to be a positive role model/dad figure for the students I work with, but also every year, I notice that I’m learning new qualities. I am stepping into new and challenging zones that I never thought I would have the courage to step into. Every year I see a boost in my self-esteem, and I feel more confident. I’m becoming a better husband, big brother and son. I also continue to work at The Pure Game because I have become that champion for kids. When I was a teenager, I needed that because I had a tough time and I didn’t have positive guidance in my life.
TPG: What schools do you service in Anaheim?
OV: For the past eight years I have worked in Anaheim, I have serviced at Paul Revere Elementary, Walter Elementary, Walt Disney Elementary, South Junior High, Sycamore Junior High, Ponderosa Elementary, Horace Elementary, Hansen Elementary, Rio Vista Elementary and Twila Reid Elementary.
TPG: Can you please tell me more about the programs offered in Anaheim?
OV: We have recess, lunch, after–school and physical education programs in Anaheim schools. For recess and lunch, we have the kids come out and play with their friends or classmates for about half an hour. Our Field Champion will provide a word of the day where kids will learn the meaning by listening to the Field Champion, and then model that word by playing games and activities, all while having fun.
The after–school program is one hour long, with same process as recess and lunch, but with more time for the kids to play and get to go deeper with the word of the day. Field Champions will also challenge students to think of ways on how they can apply what they learned on the field to their house and community.
Physical Education programs students will have between 30-45 minutes playing different activities that have to do with exercising and learning the word of the day.
TPG: What kind of ImpACT do have you seen in the schools that you service?
OV: In the time I’ve being working at Anaheim schools, I have noticed that those kids that are part of the program become more social with other students from the same school and they interact with kids they hadn’t before. I have also noticed students feeling more comfortable around sports when they thought they weren’t good at sports. All of this has to do with the way The Pure Game has taught their Field Champions how to run programs, as well as the connection Field Champions make with the students by providing a safe and positive environment where students can be happy, have fun and discover abilities, strengths and talents they didn’t know they had.
TPG: Why should people support Pure Game’s programs?
OV: I believe people should support The Pure Game because our program provides positive role models for kids all over Orange County who need someone to look up to as a role model, big brother, and even as a parent. I have lived all of my life in OC, and I come from a really tough neighborhood, and I’ve seen how growing up without a positive role model can affect a child’s life. I was really lucky to not take a different path when I was a teenager because of the people I was surrounded by. The Pure Game gives kids in tough neighborhoods an opportunity to look up to someone who can give them guidance and hope for a better future.
“Every child deserves a champion in their life. Someone who they can trust and someone who can give them hope.” – Octavio