31 March, 2015
Rebuilding Neighborhoods

Rebuilding Neighborhoods | In the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of the Twin Cities, Urban Homeworks focuses the combined resources of individuals, churches, businesses, government entities and other nonprofits to transform foreclosed, condemned or boarded properties into dignified, quality places to live.

Thursday, 05 March 2015 10:33

Lighting Bulldogs on Fire!

wrestleHow one Urban Homeworks resident is inspiring a whole community...

"You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within." – Bob Nelson, Ph. D.

When’s the last time you got really inspired, a time you had someone build a fire in you? If it’s been a while, hit “pause” on the tv, and come hear the real thing from Jaime Wright, coach of the North Common’s Park Bulldog wrestling team, as he builds 20+ neighborhood kids into young champions.

Last week’s practice followed a particularly challenging tournament: more bruised young egos than medals and trophies. The rigors of the standard conditioning drills only seemed to flare whining I-can’t-itudes, rather than winning attitudes. “Stop!” Coach Jaime halts practice mid-drill for a pep-talk-meets-fire-starting rally…

If you get taken down, you get back up and say ‘I’m gonna get better.’
If they pin you, turn your butt back over to your stomach, you get up, and say ‘I’m gonna get better.’
If you are practicing here with someone, and they keep beating you…what do you say?...I’m. Going. To. Get. Better!”
“Its up to you to be a champ. We just want you to be better. You wanna be a champ? You gotta work hard. You have to want it, alright? You can do this!
Lets go again…”

wrestle groupWhat a gift it has been to me as a parent to see my son’s confidence kindle this winter under such a high caliber of coaching skill. My son, Jonah, is one of several “Urban Homeworks kids”, the sons and daughters of Urban Homeworks residents, staff, and NAZ (Northside Achievement Zone) families, who are on Coach Jaime’s team this year. Coach Jaime is not from “outside” the neighborhood, bringing the fire in to north Minneapolis. No sirree, he is one of Northside’s own; he attended North High and has his name on the walls for his own athletic achievements, in addition to wrestling, coaches youth football and track at the Park, he is an Urban Homeworks resident, and is on staff at NAZ as a Connector. Every day Jaime is the Coach, fanning in to flame the dream for community families that your kid, too, can go to college.

I am so glad I happened to catch that pep talk moment of coaching artistry on my cell phone. I am none too proud to say that I have watched it a least 5 times in the last few weeks…because I needed a fire built in me, too, Coach.

I’m. Going. To. Get. Better.

Jaime, like so many individuals on our 400+ waiting list, is a committed and hardworking neighbor being pushed out of stable housing due to climbing rent prices. Help us keep rent attainable for the dedicated people, like Jaime, looking for affordable stability. Join the >100 campaign today. 


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  • Amazing! Written by Eileen on Thursday, 05 April 2012 02:37