Sophie with "buddy" Jackson
Sophia "Sophie" Traven has been selected as Youth Volunteer of the Year for 2011-2012 by the Very Important Player (VIP) program for AYSO Region 418.
Sophie, a sophomore at Whitney Young High School, has participated as a volunteer with VIP for the past four years. Sophie’s quiet and diminutive size belies her strength and commitment; she has been a consistent source of perseverance, focus and guidance to her buddy, player Jackson, age 16. Jackson has played with the VIP program since its incipience 6 years ago. Jackson’s father showers Sophie with the following praise:
Sophie and Jackson work on passing
"Sophie has been working with Jackson for several years now. Week in and week out, she is consistently upbeat and enthusiastic. She encourages Jackson throughout each practice -- always keeping focused on Jackson and soccer. She makes sure that Jackson concentrates on the drills and soccer. Over the years, I have noticed that he can spend more and more time on each drill. Sophie is a very diligent and dedicated volunteer. As I said, she has been working with Jackson for years, and there have only been a few times when some other commitment has made it impossible for her to be at soccer. On those rare occasions when she cannot be at soccer, she makes a point to tell Jackson and me the week before. This advance notice is invaluable for me to be able to prepare Jackson for soccer. Jackson likes Sophie and likes playing soccer with her. She has really helped to make soccer a great experience for Jackson.”
Sophie, too, has gained a great deal from the experience. She explains, “by working with my buddy, I have become more patient and learned that the key to success is to try and try again. I have worked with Jackson for 4 years and have seen major improvement in his skills. This experience has been one of the best in my life, and the service hours that come along with it are an added bonus.” Sophie inspires new volunteers, when she tells them “you feel a special connection with your buddy. The best feeling is to see the smile on your buddy’s face when they score a goal or do a move really well, so I'm going to keep working with Jackson so he can keep improving and truly know how great he has become.”