Jeff Wiseman, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, is a "Big Quaker" and the Student Athlete Coordinator of the Young Quakers Community Athletics Program (YQCA), which partners Penn sports teams with local students grades K-8. For the past two years, Jeff has supported YQCA coaches, senior staff, and his fellow Varsity Track and Field teammates both on and off the field. He has gone above and beyond his given duties to ensure a quality experience for both the Penn students and the "Young Quakers." He is truly an example of how an undergraduate can make a significant, positive difference in the world.
My role in the Young Quakers Program is the Student Athlete Coordinator. I meet with the inner city youth once or twice a week, and my fellow teammates and I work on various track and field skill sets with them. After every session with the kids, we have a group discussion on lessons learned that pertain to the days planned activities and relate them to real world experiences. Before the commencement of the physical activity, we work on building their academic knowledge. I help organize the daily planners and lead the group discussions with the kids.
Our goal with the Young Quakers Program is simple: engage with the inner-city youth through academics and athletics. We believe that physical activity is not only important for the students' health, but it is also paramount in further developing their life skills. The majority of the students have a passion for sports, and through this passion we can teach them valuable life lessons as they come to the realization that the ways in which one succeeds in sports parallels how one succeeds in life. We work one-on-one with the inner-city youth at UPENN but also travel to their schools in the city. As student athletes, we want to show that hard work and dedication can propel these students to their dream career. It is crucial that the students realize Penn is only a few blocks away-and though it seems to them as an alternate world-it could become part of their everyday life. Giving these students a sense of hope and a safe place to learn is what this program prides itself on. Our end goal is for other Universities to follow suit and give the under-privileged youth a sense of prosperity and security in troublesome times.