The Peninsula High School boys soccer team has a knack for scoring goals. But they’re pretty good at assisting off the soccer field, too.
Peninsula midfielder Mason Haubrich started the idea for the Peninsula Soccer Tutors program as a community service project last spring, during the high school soccer season. Some of his teammates, including Benjamin Patterson, Austin (Ozzy) Marten, Teyj Menon, Connor Bass and Ben Stanford, quickly jumped on board.
“This program has engendered a sense of proactiveness in me,” Haubrich said. “As well as that, I’ve discovered what I truly love to do: making positive changes in people’s lives.”
For Stanford, it sounded like a fun time, so he agreed to help. The soccer players went to Harbor Ridge Middle School for a little over an hour after school every Tuesday and Thursday during the season. The sessions usually had between 15 to 35 kids seeking help with their homework, across various subjects.
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“A lot of kids needed help with math,” Stanford said. “We helped kids with different math concepts. I also really liked helping them study, quizzing them for science and spelling tests.”
At first, the students were shy and hesitant, according to Stanford. But after a few visits, the kids embraced the high-school role models.
“Once they got used to us, they remembered our names and they loved to see us,” Stanford said.
While shopping in targeting in July, Stanford saw one of the girls he helped tutor, with her parents.
“Her dad told me, ‘Thanks for helping out my kid,’” Stanford said. “That was pretty cool.”
Stanford’s favorite part of the experience was getting to know the kids and helping them improve their grades.
“Once they started to remember us, they came up and would say ‘Hi’ and ask us if we could help them,” Stanford said. “That was fun for me — they would come up to us and ask us. We didn’t have to go up to them anymore.”
While the tutoring program is on hold during the summer, the players expect it to resume during the school year. While Stanford will be busy with football in the fall, he said he’ll “definitely” be returning to the program once his time is freed up in the winter and spring.
“I’ll be back there,” he said.
Peninsula’s coach, Brad Scandrett, preaches leadership, on and off the field, to his players.
“He loves that we’re doing the tutoring thing,” Stanford said. “He’s OK with us showing up to practice five or 10 minutes late if we’re coming from tutoring kids. He loves it. He tells us to keep doing it.”
Stanford hopes to see the program expanded in the future.
“I know the girls team was talking about doing it,” Stanford said. “The kids would get more exposure to high schoolers and could talk to them. It would help the kids come out of their shells, a bit. If (the program) grew, that’d be awesome. Just to know I was part of the original group, that’d be super cool.”