At MinnesotaPreps we have been visiting school and meeting players for the last few months in preparation for the coming football season. It's our standard practice to friend player on Facebook so we can keep in touch and get updates for stories when the season starts. This is also a great way to learn much more about a player than talking to them with a camera in their face.
We were out to visit Tahi Dixon about a month or so and we have kept in touch. He asked one day if I was interested in more than just football news. He wondered if we were interested in volunteering as well. I said we were absolutely interest in volunteering. The following is our conversation from Facebook. The photographs were sent to my by Tahi.
MJM: I understand you have a busy volunteer schedule this summer.
TD:I have quite a stacked-up agenda, since volunteering is one of my main out-of-school activities, besides football.
MJM: Can you send over a listing of the activites you have planned?
DT: August 4-7: Duluth Servant Trip- Food Shelters, street cleaning, youth ministry educating;
Sept 10-May 20th(Wednesdays): Youth Ministry Educating
Somewhere near the end of august-November(Mondays): Youth Football coaching
March-June- Youth Baseball coaching That's as far as I have things planned out, I can update you once we start buffing out the kinks in our volunteering regime, as a youth ministry educational committee.
MJM: How did you get started spending so much time helping others? Is this a family tradition? What are the rewards of volunteering? Tell me about an incident that moved you while you were helping others?
TD: I got started when I had seen that my friend was trying to get involved into the Education program, and I wanted to help him see something through, since he rarely accomplishes his goals. I went with him, and we both realized what an enriching feeling it is to be able to teach the youth that there is something for them too. So many of the kids I work with are such caring individuals, and seeing them develop is a feeling that surpasses the levels of euphoric.
With the athletics I give my time towards, I had simply went to my brother's baseball/football game, and noticed that there was a lot of work to be done, fundamentally. I want my brother and his team to succeed, so I took it upon myself to make sure the team was well prepared with the knowledge and the fundamentals required to be great. The fantastic thing is, they won the section championship, and almost won the state title, for football.
MJM: Do you come from a family of volunteers?
TD: I am the first in my family to be involved in the Ministry Education, while my Father is very involved in coaching, for both my High School team, and some of the Youth teams.
For me, the bottom line for the rewards are simple; seeing the development of character and integrity of each of the individuals I teach/coach is reward on its own. Sure, there are obvious benefits, such as coaches taking me along to coaches meeting, or even church credit for use for other mission trips, but the emotional feeling I get when volunteering is reward in its essence.
MJM: Can you give me an example of a time when your volunteering really made you feel like you were doing the right thing?
TD: One incident that definitely moved me when I was helping was when we were rewarding the Ministry program kids with a game day for being such superstars in the readings, and per the game rules, we were allowed to draft. When teams were allowed, they all jumped on me and begged for me to be on their teams. When asked, they all said because I was their favorite educator. And to know that I made them like me whilst giving them a go at some educational things, made me really happy and hopeful for the next generation of youth.
It's great to see a young man making a difference in the lives of others.