Martha Cuevas has been the site supervisor at the BAHIA school-age program for 26 years. A gentle woman with a natural maternal instinct, she easily commands the respect and adoration of the children she lives to serve. Located in West Berkeley, BAHIA provides critical services to low-income families that don’t just give parents a safe place to send their children after school but also a place that works in concert with families to develop healthy, well-rounded, and successful young people.
“The kids come here to be safe, but they also come to learn,” said Cuevas. “We give them study skills, and teach them how to do better in school. We proved tutoring in reading, writing and nutrition and once we found Coaching Corps, we incorporated sports as well.”
BAHIA helps children develop their own independence and autonomy as well as learn the skills they will need to become thriving adults. “We teach them how to communicate better and solve conflicts in a peaceful way. Rather than fix their problems for them, we give them the tools to do it themselves.”
Cuevas says the Coaching Corps coaches embody the values that complement their mission. “The coaches that come here are wonderful role models for our kids. They see people coming to volunteer with them and provide services to their community. Services we otherwise wouldn’t have. If it wasn’t for Coaching Corps, we couldn’t afford to have coaches come.”
Coaching Corps has also changed the game for girls at BAHIA. “Many of our girls have been empowered. They are not afraid of playing with boys, but five years ago, before Coaching Corps, the girls wouldn’t touch a basketball or a soccer ball. Coaching Corps helps us break the barriers and helps them feel comfortable.”
“I’m speechless when it comes to saying thank you for choosing BAHIA as a partner. There is no way we could have this program without you. You inspire us and complement our philosophy to make sure our children are healthy in body, mind, and spirit. We want to be part of the Coaching Corps movement to get kids active and involved in the development of their own bodies. We know that if we instill it now, they will have it forever.”