On Sunday, December 11, Beat the Streets partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation for their “Students In Action” program. The Jefferson Awards Foundation provided a Fall installment of this program that was exclusive to a cohort of 40 BTS Junior League Wrestlers.
The Jefferson Awards Foundation “Students In Action” program seeks to develop students into leaders who will have the tools to positively impact their immediate communities and schools, as well as the larger communities around them. The “Three Pillars” of the program are leadership (“develop current and future leadership potential within students”), engagement (“Promote the value of service and grow volunteerism within the school community”), and impact (“measure the impact of volunteerism and reward efforts to develop measurement systems”). The program has goals for each season, gradually moving from skill-building to project implementation, impact, and sustainability. Students will also build their soft skills throughout.
One of Coach Penn Gottfried’s favorite activities during the Fall installment was the scavenger hunt, which had kids find each other through their matching answers to certain questions.The activities had the Junior League wrestlers becoming friendly with peers whom they’d otherwise not have met because they go to other schools. Working towards common goals in these activities encouraged friendship with new people. The Junior League participants were also learning ways to be more active in their community.
Carlos, from M.S. 129, specifically said he was learning about community leadership. They learned about the different values of a leader and how they can develop their own projects from nothing. Their group project ideas ranged from helping the homeless, creating more youth-based development organizations, and creating better technology access in neighborhoods. At the end of the event, each kid went up to the podium to briefly present their group project and what they had personally learned from the day.
Gottfried felt the event was unique because, while all the participants were BTS Junior League wrestlers, they were exercising skills outside of wrestling. They were strengthening skills they’d use off the mat, and Gottfried found it to be an “eye-opener on how profound and really thoughtful the kids can be.”
Steve Santimauro, J.H.S. Cunningham’s Junior League Coach, also appreciated the event: "While our wrestlers spend a bunch of time in school, they aren't often given the opportunity to socialize and really expand their creativity for a good cause like they were today. Today, and the upcoming months with the project, will really teach our kids values such as selflessness, respect, and community service that will last them a lifetime."
We look forward to seeing how the projects of our Junior League wrestlers develop!