My name is Ellie Evans.I am 18 years old, committed to a Division 1 school to play college softball, and none of that would have been possible without the tutelage and coaching of two members of the Catalysts for Kids board of directors -- Teresa Wilson and Pat Jones.
At the age of 12 I was already starting to learn the life skills that my current peers are only now beginning to learn. I was taught how to manage my schedule, develop a strong work ethic, and become involved in something bigger than myself long before I ever even had my driver’s license. These two mentors helped me understand early in life how to better understand not only what I was thinking and feeling, but also why I was thinking and feeling the way I was. Building these mental skills early on is definitely challenging but with the right mentors, it can be far less of a struggle and a huge asset for student athletes.
Montana Jones | Former Player
My name is Montana Jones, and I am a sophomore at Bowling Green State University on scholarship for Softball. I am majoring in Individualized Business.
Over the course of my competitive softball career, I have played for a variety of coaches and programs scattered across the Pacific Northwest. As a left-handed outfielder and slapper, I learned many different philosophies on throwing, hitting, and baserunning but all of them seemed to contradict each other until I began to play for one of the people on the board of directors for Catalysts for Kids. Her name is Teresa Wilson.
Coach Wilson provides her players with the “why” behind her philosophies and can go into extreme detail with videos, articles, and statistics to prove its effectiveness. A critical part of this teaching was learning to understand the purpose behind things, and understand how one thinks and the Catalysts for Kids program will truly help other student athletes benefit this same way by understanding why they are thinking what they are thinking and not just for softball, but in all aspects of one’s life.
Mikaela Forcum | Former Player
My name is Mikaela Forcum and I am from Walla Walla, Washington. After attending Walla Walla High School, I received a softball scholarship to continue my education and playing career at the University of Nebraska. I was lucky enough to have a family who supported me every step of the way and went above and beyond to provide every opportunity for me to achieve my goals.
I met Coach Wilson early in my career and used what she taught me as the foundation for fulfilling my dream of playing softball at a division 1 college program. Without the knowledge and training I received, those goals never would have been possible. I realize how lucky I was and that so many kids never have the opportunity to realize their dreams.
My dream for kids and young adults alike, is to have access to these opportunities.
Under Coach Wilson, I learned that knowledge, work ethic, passion and preparation all provide the power to open doors many can’t imagine. I am excited about Catalysts for Kids because it will provide a way for kids to reconnect, be a part of something that will provide a foundation for the characteristics I mentioned above, engage their minds, and facilitate growth both as people and as athletes.
Brooklyn Jones | Former Player
My name is Brooklyn Jones and I am a junior in high school. I play multiple sports for my high school and I have been involved in select sports now for many years. I was coached by two of the board members of Catalysts for Kids and I wanted to share a bit about my experiences and how this helped me to grow as a person.
I played for Coach Jones for 10 years and with Coach Wilson for 3 of those years. The main thing I took away from those years was that you never ever stop learning. I was blessed to have coaches that pushed me and taught me to ask why we did something and let me grow my thinking. I look back and I am grateful I was taught to have a curious mind. It has made me a better basketball and softball player and a better person overall.
My hope is for current athletes and other people who want to learn why they are feeling a certain way to be encouraged to challenge themselves and understand why they are thinking and feeling the way they do. I hope that the Catalysts for kids program can help others be fortunate enough to find the same answers and opportunities as I was. With mentors like the board members on Catalysts for kids, athletes and non-athletes will be able to learn about not just what to do, but why we do it. They will learn how to think through problems and be able to ask their questions freely and have many more tools at their disposal when it comes to understanding others and how best to achieve one’s own goals.
Georgia Corey | Former Player
When I met Coach Wilson, I was twelve years old and was trying out for her softball team. I knew I loved the game of softball, but I didn’t really know what I wanted out of it. One of the first things I noticed about Coach was her ability to seek out the true potential of players who might not have been able to see in themselves. I was petrified to go to my first practice. Coach sat everyone down and told us to grab our journals. She stood in front of the group and started to explain relays and cut offs for the team. At first, I thought this was silly. Relays and cut offs? It was basic stuff that I already knew. Why did I have to learn it again? However, I quickly noticed that it was not just about getting an out, it was about everyone on the field working together and doing their part in order to achieve a common goal. “And that”, she said, “is what not only the game of softball, but the game of life, is all about.” After that practice, I went home with a new found respect for Coach Wilson and over the years, have found that her ability to teach life through softball is like no other.
Coach Wilson has a special ability to create a family out of every team she coaches. I made friendships that will last a lifetime and I still call many of my former teammates to ask for advice, check in, or just talk, and we all agree that Coach Wilson has been one of the most influential people in our lives. She taught us so much about not only softball, but about the life that we will soon make for ourselves and how to shape our own futures. She even continued to do this after her time coaching us came to an end.
Four years after my first practice with Coach, she told me about a program she became involved in that focused on mental training and on how to reframe your mindset in order to be productive. Through multiple courses, I was able once again, to continue to build on my craft and formulate my thoughts in order to become more productive and driven. It is things like this
that make Coach Wilson so special. Even though she hadn’t coached me in softball for almost five years, she is still, and will a coach to me.
We are just beginning our story. At a time when our world is overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty, we want to provide certainty, growth, and resources to help our most valuable commodity, our children.
Our world is not an easy place for those who lack confidence, communication and leadership skills, independence, and resourcefulness. At a time when we should be developing these characteristics in our next generation, we instead, find our youth dealing with separation and isolation, leading to higher rates of anxiety and depression. While their parents are dealing with shut-downs, lay-offs, unemployment, and loss of small businesses, society is seeing increases in domestic violence, substance abuse, and suicide. Financial hardship prevents people from seeking help outside of what the schools are offering.
This is where our story begins. A group of like-minded individuals who have spent their lives working with, helping, teaching, coaching and providing opportunities for kids, is working to create a process by which applications can be submitted for funding that will provide the tools, educational resources, and programs for kids to grow and thrive. Through this process, we will be catalysts for growth (physically and mentally), creating strong, skilled, independent, and resourceful young leaders, prepared to meet any challenge.
In the years and decades to come, the kids who experience our influence and education will become the new catalysts for the growth of future generations. Our job is to provide the foundation for that growth.