One of UCF's Registered Student Organizations is changing the game for kids in low-income areas of Central Florida.

Coaching Corps, an official on-campus organization since Sept. 2014, is a group of UCF students who serve as mentors and volunteer coaches for after-school sports programs around Central Florida.

"We promote positive peer relationships, inspire leadership in kids and ensure the emotional and physical safety of all our athletes," said Megan Turner, a junior biology major and president of Coaching Corps at UCF. "[We] ensure that all kids are given the opportunity to run, play, learn, be coached and work with a team."

As a sector of a national organization, the UCF chapter is a service RSO that just wrapped up its first season of coaching middle school soccer, flag football and basketball.

Kutar Sield, a senior sport and exercise science major, was nominated for the Shining Star Award at the seventh annual Shining Star Awards Ceremony, which was hosted by the City of Orlando.

Sield coached at Odyssey Middle School and was recognized for her excellent volunteer service on May 7.

Sield, who aims to become a physical education teacher and athletic director after graduation, was pleased that Coaching Corps could have such a large effect on her.

"I'm honored that volunteering to coach has made this much of an impact on the lives of the kids, but also on me," Sield said. "I always wanted to coach kids growing up, and having this opportunity with Coaching Corps was the perfect start to my future career.

"Coaching makes you step-up as a leader and with Coaching Corps, I was given the opportunity to become a leader and a role model that the youth in our community look up to."

During the fall of 2014, Orlando City Soccer provided the necessary gear, including balls, cleats and jerseys, for the middle-school soccer teams that Coaching Corps coached.

During the spring of 2015, Coaching Corps provided students with a soccer background an opportunity to become a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Level 5 Diploma certified coach and coach a 10-week soccer clinic hosted by Orlando City Soccer.

The soccer clinic sought to provide elementary school children an opportunity to develop their skills. The clinic helped the coaches and children.

"Coaches made the games positive from start to finish and provided an outlet for [students] to talk about on and off-field life situations," said Steve Wittek, the community programs coordinator for Orlando City Soccer.


Jamie Shalek is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future