Coach Blog: Meet Coach Ahrissa
My name is Ahrissa Jones and I am originally from Erie, PA. I went to college at Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach, SC where I received my degree in Elementary Education. Throughout my college career I was involved in a mentor program, and I really gained a love for helping kids build their self confidence by helping them reaching their full potential academically, and in their personal lives.
When I moved to Charlotte after graduation, I immediately started interviewing for elementary teaching positions. During one of my interviews, one of the teachers on the interview committee was telling me about all of the extracurricular activities that the school offered. She mentioned the GOTR program, and immediately it caught my interest. When I got home I looked online to find out more information and was so impressed by the message it sends to young girls! After learning about the program, I faithfully asked all the schools I was interviewing with if they offered the program, and if they needed volunteers.
I was very blessed to get a job at JH Gunn right out of college, and even more blessed to become an assistant coach during my first year of teaching there. Since then I have been blessed to take over the Head Coach position for our school, and I am currently coaching my 4th season. Although I am very busy with my teaching career and a second job, I can’t imagine not making the time to continue being apart of the GOTR program. The girls energy truly motivates me to be the best I can be, as a coach, teacher, friend, and overall person. Many of the lessons we teach can be valuable for “kids” of all ages. GOTR teaches young women to be physically and emotionally healthy. I wish that when I was their age I had a group that motivated me to live healthy and equipped me with strategies to deal with problems all girls run into socially and emotionally. These lessons are going to be timeless for these girls.
During all four seasons I have coached, I have seen the difference the program has made in the lives of my students who may have previously had a hard time socially or emotionally, and it is truly inspiring to be a part of this process. GOTR has helped several of my girls to build their confidence and has let the sparkling personalities that is hidden in each and every one of them shine. I love teaching young girls who are constantly bombarded with the pressure to look and act a certain way according to society, what really important is the person you are, on the inside. If you are beautiful in the inside, you will not be able to help but to ooze beauty on the outside.
I am looking forward, as I do each season, to the 5K. It’s an experience that the girls get so excited about. They so proudly display their medals the Monday after the 5K at school and you can tell each of them has little more pep in their step because they have reached their goal. They reached the goal with the help of 14 new friends, and the countless strategies from our lessons to help them grow into beautiful young woman that shine from the inside.
My best advice to coaches is to be passionate about what you are teaching the girls, be excited, and practice what you preach. When the girls see their coaches and mentors living the message of GOTR they are motivated and excited to do the same thing. I would encourage anyone who is looking to make a difference in the community or in the lives of young girls, to volunteer for this program. It has been a blessing for me and the young ladies at my school!
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