(BPT) - Everyday life doesn’t always grant opportunities to make a difference in other people's lives, but you can find those opportunities if you seek them out. For example, being a coach or mentor is one great way to make a positive impact on the lives of children.
Recognizing those who do make a difference can inspire others to take note of what we can all learn from them. Lance Sandwich Crackers, the official snack of Little League® Baseball and Softball, is teaming up with the Positive Coaching Alliance to present “My Coach, My Hero” Awards to two outstanding Little League coaches who have made a positive difference in their communities — on and off the field. They encourage team spirit and sportsmanship when it comes to game time, while promoting social responsibility and inspiring others even after the final pitch. Each recipient's league will receive a $5,000 donation from Lance to further their support in the community.
Coach Mike Cooper
As an ardent and committed supporter of the Little League Program in the Hanover community, My Coach, My Hero Award winner Mike Cooper has always kept the best interest of all players in the forefront of his actions and decisions both on and off the field. Coach Cooper has been a staunch advocate for Little League in the Hanover community and a strong believer in the values taught by Little League. He mounted a successful campaign to rebuild the Little League program in Hanover. In only their second year rebuilding, Coach Cooper was instrumental in expanding the Hanover Little League offerings to the community, through establishing a Little League Challenger Division®, which provides a Little League experience for those in the community with physical and intellectual challenges.
Coach Richard Carroll
My Coach, My Hero Award winner Richard Carroll has coached at all levels of play, from Tee ball to high school. Coach Carroll spent many years coaching Little League and has served for years as the League President for Venice Little League. Baseball is his passion. A Little League Challenger Division® was formed in the Venice community from Coach Carroll and his wife’s idea to offer all children in the community an opportunity to play baseball. They take pride in the social opportunity that Venice Challenger Baseball brings to the community. Coach Carroll has a way of working with his players and getting them to perform to the best of their abilities. He is a stern, yet gentle coach that always keeps the well-being of his players in mind. Coach Carroll and his wife, along with community members, are working to build a “Field of Dreams” for the Challenger athletes to play in a safe environment. The stadium will have two fields: one rubberized for wheelchairs and the other a regular clay/grass field.
How can you make a difference in your own community?
1. Share your passion. Like Coach Carroll, being a leader means showing how much you care. Use your enthusiasm to inspire others to join your efforts.
2. Be a mentor. Coach a sports team, be a chess club mentor or volunteer in your community's schools. Helping children learn new skills and realize their own dreams can be the most rewarding experience for you, for the children you mentor — and for the future of your community.
3. Take action to right a wrong. Like Coach Cooper, if you see a problem that needs fixing, stand up for what's right and do what you can to address the issue. Your positive actions will inspire others to join your cause.
4. Stand up for others. Just as these two award recipients have done, look for opportunities to help those who may need a boost. If you know of community members, young or old, who are being left out, find ways to include them and show them that they matter.
5. Model behavior you want to see in others. Children — and adults — learn more about others by watching how they behave than from what they say. Exhibiting a "winning attitude," whether on the field or off, demonstrates just what can be possible with the right mindset.
Use these coaches as inspiration in your own life, and share your gifts and abilities as they do to help their communities grow stronger, one Little League team at a time.
For more information about Lance products and the My Coach, My Hero Awards, check out lance.com/my-coach-my-hero/.