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Supporting Talented Athletes to Succeed (S.T.A.T.S.)

Supporting Talented Athletes to Succeed (S.T.A.T.S.) is a mentoring program of Battle Creek’s New Level Sports for children from first to sixth grade. It pairs college athletes to form relationships with children as they enjoy many different sports. 
Michigan Nightlight: In your view, what makes your program innovative, effective or remarkable?
New Level Sports Executive Director Christopher McCoy: I think it’s innovative because it is a sports-oriented program. We have football, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, golf, and track and field. Each sport has its own coach, but we use college sports teams as mentors for the youth in our program. These athletes are primarily from the Kellogg Community College baseball team. They come in on Tuesdays and mentor by helping kids with their homework, social skills, by eating with them and developing relationships with them. Sometimes they go to games and other activities with them. 
What was the best lesson learned in the past year?
I learned how important the mentoring relationships are to these kids, especially male relationships.
I learned how important the mentoring relationships are to these kids, especially male relationships.
It doesn’t matter the ethnicity of the males, but male relationships are very important. Many of our kids, both boys and girls, do not have a male in the home. The majority of their teachers are female, too, so a male relationship is an oddity for some of the kids. It’s great that they kids have a male to play games with them, help with homework and to do social activities together.
What was the hardest lesson learned in the past year?
Nothing was really hard this year. Things went smoothly. But what is difficult every year is that mentors come and go. KCC is a two-year college and the turnaround in mentors can be difficult because the kids become so attached to them. But I think that the stability of our staff makes up for a lot of that.
What really differentiates this program?
The baseball team is about 90 percent Caucasian and 90 percent of the kids that are being mentored are African-American. A lot of people think that ethnicity is the most important thing when it comes to mentoring, but in our case it has never been a problem. Most kids don’t see the color. They just see the relationships being developed. It just isn’t important to them. Grownups see color – we learn to hate, to differentiate.  But the kids take whoever is there at face value with no perceptions. It’s all pure. Grownups see color – we learn to hate, to differentiate. 
But the kids take whoever is there at face value with no perceptions. It's all pure.

What are the keys to success for your program?
No one has ever been paid to work with the kids in S.T.A.T.S. We have a great volunteer staff and we have huge support from the church [Faith Assembly Christian Fellowship]. There are over 500 people in our congregation, and they are very generous. They provide us with money, resources, information, connections, volunteers, the whole gamut. They give us everything we need for the mentoring program.
How do you innovate programming? Where do the ideas come from? How do you know if they are going to work?
It’s a vision. The whole program is inspired by God. The scripture says that if you commit your ways to Him, He will establish your thoughts. God downloads ideas to me and to the people around me. He gives us ideas for the programs that make us unique. I pray and listen to the answers because if the answers come from God, they have to work.  He is perfect and all knowing.

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  • New Level Sports
    New Level Sports is a non-profit student athlete support service, for ages 8-18. Our mission is to maximize and balance the intellectual, spiritual, mental and physical elements of all participating student-athletes. We are committed to assisting our ...


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