This was especially a change and positive shock because these kids within this group have struggled week after week with respecting me and each other, not wanting to play as a team, joking around with bad behavior and having huge issues with name calling and cussing.
Best of all, one specific student, Jose (Not the students real name) showed the biggest change yet! He has been since day one and one of the biggest challenges because of his attitude and behavior. The week before, I had to sit him out because he was calling a girl derogatory names and talking back to his teammates and myself. Inside his classroom the teacher has continued to have to pull him out of class because of his behavior and his attitude toward classwork, other students and school property.
At the start of the program he was already talking up and saying that he didn’t care about respecting others and that it was pointless. I was able share with the class that I, along with their parents, teachers and coaches were here to support, encourage and guide them to make better choices but ultimately everyone is in charge of their own behaviors and actions. And these behaviors and actions are what decide your future and successes. As their field champion, I want them to grow up and become successful but they themselves have to decide what type of future they want.
It seemed to resonate with many of the students. But we quickly got into a game of soccer. I ended up putting Jose and two other players on a team and was up against 6 players from the other team. I told them that I believed in them and in order to win they must work as a team, communicate and be positive. They were up for the challenge.
Because I gave them more responsibility and believed in them, their confidence and self-esteem went up. They were incredible! Working as a team, never giving up, encouraging each other, sharing, smiling and communicating. Jose was picking players up when they fell, high fiving not only his teammates but the opposing team and saying positive words. I was impressed with the other team as well and how they involved everyone, the girls were showing great skill and they were all laughing and smiling. And as that field was running smoothly, so was the other field.
It was amazing to watch how talented, gifted and awesome these students are. Pure Game gives an environment where kids can and do shine. We see these youth for their good attributes and encourage struggling students to show theirs. As I was running the program, I wrote down 7 names of students that were behaving as true leaders but in reality I could have written down each kid’s name.
After the program I followed up with the lunch monitor and librarian to share with her how well they did. She was so impressed with Jose that we got to announce his name over loud speaker and they went into his classroom to share with his teacher how well he did.
I am very proud as a field champion to mentor these students and to see how much they have grown. I’m excited for their futures!
-Field Champion, Danielle