I felt like a kid again.
“It was a crazy roller-coaster of a day,” said Pope Rodnoi. Though Pope’s team had a tough season, he managed to coach his team to the championship game of the playoffs. After being down at the half, the team climbed back, forced overtime and eventually won the game. “The kids were so excited, I was so excited, it just felt electric,” he said. “I felt like a kid again.” That was the end of his first season with Coaching Corps.
Months earlier, Pope was scrolling on his phone and saw a picture of an old friend surrounded by a group of kids. Pope reached out to him and learned that his friend was a Coaching Corps coach. He connected Pope to Coaching Corps and since then, Pope has coached in Los Angeles for five seasons—two of those while attending UCLA and three after his graduation.
Looking back, that was the beginning of a big shift in my life.
Pope said he played basketball almost every day to escape the stresses of his life. In middle school, one of his basketball coaches started asking Pope about his classes. “Looking back, that was the beginning of a big shift in my life,” Pope said. Today, Pope credits his coach for spurring his interest in pursuing a college education.
Pope volunteers because he sees himself in the kids he coaches. He understands the impact of not having a mentor and he knows the difference one strong voice can make. Plus, he views mentorship as “a chain-reaction effect.” He believes that his mentorship can help others succeed and inspire them to become a mentor, as well.
Studies show 90% of young adults who were at risk for falling off track but had a mentor are interested in becoming a mentor. You can join Coach Pope and help inspire the next generation of coaches and mentors.