In Real Life Blog Series: Helping Youth Sports Coaches Elevate Their Mission

Kristan Allen, Director, Marketing and Communications, The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA
May 10th, 2016
Posted In: In Real Life, Our Affiliates

Staying active helps promote increased health and wellness throughout all stages of life.  As the school year winds down and summer approaches, we’re sharing stories about how positive mentoring relationships support a healthy lifestyle through physical activity.  This post recognizes the important work done by MENTOR’s affiliate the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania (TMP) in support of the physical and emotional well-being of our young people.

100 Black Men_1The act of mentoring happens every day. Whether within a formal program or organically, I’m sure we all can think of that person who positively impacted us growing up.  We at the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania (TMP) believe all adults, teachers, neighbors, relatives, coaches, have the opportunity to use mentoring best practices to strengthen the relationships they are already having with the kids in their lives. We call this “Everyday Mentoring”.

TMP believes that Everyday Mentoring is a great complement to structured mentoring. Simply put, Everyday Mentoring is a way for adults to bridge the mentoring gap and support the young people they know by being a caring adult and offering guidance during critical moments.  Whether it’s a word of encouragement, help with homework or even a simple smile in the morning, we all have the power to let young people know we’re there to help them with whatever they may need to make life a little better.

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and perfectly timed as youth and adults everywhere are headed to baseball diamonds and tennis courts. Youth sports coaches are obvious examples of Everyday Mentoring in action, with thousands of caring adults volunteering as youth sports and activity coaches in communities across the country.  Sure, these coaches are teaching kids the fundamentals of engaging in physical activity– how to throw a baseball or swing a racquet.  But there’s a lot more to it than that.  Youth sports volunteers have the opportunity to teach kids valuable lessons both on and off the field. Coaches who understand the opportunity of Everyday Mentoring can offer important encouragement that shows youth that they’re known, recognized, cared for and supported.

We’ve already trained 322 volunteers in Everyday Mentoring and we’re excited to grow that number!  Most recently, we hosted a Youth Coaching Workshop in conjunction with the Positive Coaching Alliance.  More than 50 local coaches attended and NEXTpittsburgh featured a great follow-up story on Everyday Mentoring and the powerful work youth coaches are doing in our communities.

Recent research from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership projected that 16 million young people, including 9 million youth at-risk of being disconnected from school, work and their community, will reach adulthood without a mentor of any kind.  We can work together to eliminate this mentoring gap and ensure that all youth who want or need mentoring support have access to it.  Everyday Mentoring can play a critical part in reaching this goal and youth sports coaches are at the front lines of this movement.  By helping them see themselves as more than just a coach, they can empower their athletes and set them up for success, both in sports and in life.


9 million young people in America are in need of a trusted adult in their lives to guide them in moments big and small. Join the In Real Life movement and become an advocate, make a donation or become a volunteer.

The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania is an affiliate Mentoring Partnership of MENTOR. Visit their website to learn more about how they are strengthening natural mentoring relationships throughout Pittsburgh and beyond.

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