Ronald Simpkins, a former NFL linebacker, facilitates workshops for prospective coaches and youth sports administrators through the Volunteers Administrators and Coaches (VAC) training program at Wayne State University.
His aim is to train quality coaches who encourage a lifetime of good sportsmanship
Coaches play an integral role in motiving young athletes. Their actions often inspire future Olympians and sports professionals.
Supported by Wayne State's College of Education, VAC provides training to individuals 14 and older.
Simpkins said he was encouraged by a basketball coach when he was in high school and that sports changed his life.
"I got a college education out of it," he said.
He also said he wanted to create a program to impact the city and give kids a good youth sports experience.
"So many other kids I've coached had the same opportunity," he said. "I've seen the difference quality programs and coaches make in a young person's life."
In addition to his work with VAC, Simpkins is a project coordinator for the Detroit Recreation Department and varsity athletic coach for football, basketball and track at Detroit's Western International High School. He also runs youth summer programs at WSU for basketball, cheerleading, fencing and golf.
In addition to sports-related programming, VAC offers programs involving distance learning using computers. This program is provided after school during the school year and during the summer months at safe locations.
WSU also provides "Enter-tainment" curriculum of involving the young people in activities that promote building self-esteem, drug prevention, violence mediation and gang intervention.
Another program is the Self-Esteem Camp. WSU/VAC is the only program that provides a summer mobile program that takes the service to the youth in the city and all of metro Detroit area. The two main components of programming are the Self-Esteem Camps program and the Self-Esteem Football Camps & Clinics program.
For more information about VAC, visit education.wayne.edu/grants/vac.
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