“With the support of a larger organization, my help can change a person’s life.”
A high school senior who’s been with BYSC since seventh grade, Ryan Pohly is one of our most dedicated and experienced volunteers. He’s with us at Purchase College every Sunday, helping special needs athletes safely enjoy team sports. And, as a BYSC “Red Shirt,” he’s a role model for the next generation of volunteer leaders.
Ryan’s six-year commitment to our program started with a Mitzvah project. Why did he stay? “I fell in love,” he says. “I love sports and getting to share what I’ve learned through sports – confidence, communication, athletic skills – with kids who otherwise might not get the chance to play real games and learn these lessons.” Ryan shared that he’s seen the benefits of connecting through sports follow participants out of the gym, like when they are more comfortable socializing with peers at a Friday night teen event.
Getting to work one-on-one with the same athlete for a year or longer and watch his skills and confidence improve is also very rewarding. When Ryan sees him get frustrated or down about a mistake or disappointment, he encourages him to persevere.
Ryan doesn’t hesitate to encourage others to volunteer with Backyard Sports Cares. “It’s a different way to get out there in the community, and you get a lot more out of it than you put in. Just a little bit of effort can make a real impact.”
In fact, Ryan is inspired to continue volunteering when he goes away to college. We’re so grateful to have Ryan as a role model and leader in our organization and we know that he’ll continue to make a great impact in all his future endeavors.