A Holyoke youth sports organization is in desperate need of coaches and volunteers.
The western Massachusetts Youth Sports Initiative started last fall, and since then it has tripled in the number of participants.
The program offers free sports leagues and clinics to children in western Massachusetts in hopes to get them active and off the streets.
Jesse Castellano and his co-partner, Christopher Gibaldi are getting ready for their inaugural spring season as founders of the western Massachusetts Youth Sports Initiative.
The games are played on a field next to Holyoke High School.
"We started in the fall with about 60 kids and then in the winter we grew to 170 plus kids and we're hoping to double that for spring," Castellano said.
Kids ages 3 to 17 can play and learn a variety of sports like soccer and basketball.
Castellano said they are looking to expand to field hockey down the line.
With monetary help from various organizations in the area, Castellano has been able to buy some equipment but also spent some of his own money which allows for the kids to play for free.
However, Castellano told Western Mass News as it gets more popular and more kids join, so does the need for volunteers and coaches.
"We want to have coaches running each team and develop a coaching program where we can have people that love working with kids that love the sport, get engaged, and start learning the proper way to coach," Castellano continued.
He said they have two practices a week with a game on the weekend, on Wednesdays and Fridays for about two hours each day and their games run for around an hour and a half.
The western Massachusetts Youth Sports Initiative also has an educational component, and that's where Chris Gibaldi comes in.
"Standardized tests push for more of a sedentary lifestyle inside the classroom where we try to provide another place for them to get that energy out but in a safe structured place. Sometimes it can be hard to compete with technology," said Gibaldi.
With the spring season just weeks away and if you'd like to be a coach or enroll your kid in one of these sports programs, please contact Jesse Castellano at 413-331-9422 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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