I am Branden Collins, a student at Georgia College. I grew up in Peachtree City, Georgia, and am currently studying Public Health and completing a four-month-long internship at Soccer in the Streets. I also played soccer at Emmanuel College for one year and four years at McIntosh high school.
I found my passion through soccer at a young age. When I came across Soccer in the Streets, I knew it was a fit for me. Soccer in the Streets is a local non-profit organization that empowers youth in Atlanta through soccer, character development, and employability programs based on the premise that all children should have an equal opportunity to succeed.
Playing soccer growing up, benefited me in varying facets of life. First on a personal level, playing in a team environment allowed me to cultivate communication skills at a young age. I was forced to play with people from all aspects of life. This allowed me to experience ranging personalities, and gain a worldly understanding of different playing experiences.
Second, soccer showed me that I could push myself beyond what I thought was physically possible. This drive has translated to all aspects of my life, including work and school. My motivation for interning at Soccer in the Streets is to help kids gain the same skills and mindset I was fortunate to obtain through the game of soccer.
Another motivation for my internship comes from being a student of public health; I like to see how health is affected on a population scale. By playing soccer, kids are encouraged to run and play. This promotes a healthy lifestyle at a young age. By addressing this at a young age, children will translate these habits into adulthood and live healthy lives.
Taking Away from This Experience
The biggest takeaway I have found from my experience is that I have gained an insightful understanding of how successful nonprofits function. Before this experience, I assumed most nonprofits were only grant-funded. Although grants are apart of funding, operating a successful nonprofit is much more complicated. You must have different teams to function in specific roles that combine to accomplish the overall goal.
For Soccer in the Streets, this is broken up into the program and marketing team. My other takeaway from this experience is the impact soccer has on kids. During my experience, I have been fortunate to help coach at College Park and Drew Charter School. As a coach at Drew Charter, I have the opportunity to work with 13 elementary school students. Each student brings a unique personality to the table, that has challenged me and allowed me to grow as a young adult. Throughout my experience, I have had the opportunity to engage with each student. I have been fortunate enough to not only improve students soccer skills but learn about the students on a personal level. In each instance, I have seen the joy kids receive from playing with one another. This joy is contagious and leads to an overall positive experience for children, parents, and coaches that are a part of the Soccer in the Streets family.
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