Lucas with "buddy" Christian
Christian Traven has been selected as Youth Volunteer of the Year for 2010-2011 by the Very Important Player (VIP) program for AYSO Region 418.
Christian started as a VIP volunteer when he was in eighth grade. After he completed requisite service learning hours, he continued to volunteer. Now a sophomore at Whitney Young, Christian explains, “Volunteering is about more than service hours. It is about your relationship with your buddy.”
Christian has been a “buddy” to player Lucas Levens, age 8, since Fall 2007. VIP co-administrator Ellyn Bank explains: “When Lucas started with us, he was uncomfortable with the group structure and would pass the ball only with Christian off to the side of the field. With Christian’s gentle and consistent encouragement, Lucas now willingly participates in group skill building activities and scrimmages with the team.
Christian bikes to practice and makes VIP a priority on his weekends. He says he likes volunteering because “It makes me feel good. I have seen Lucas improve a lot. The relationship you develop with your buddy is very rewarding.” Christian encourages volunteers to continue after they complete their service hours because “Your buddy will miss you if you stop coming. Your buddy trusts and depends on you. They may be sad and confused if you stop coming.”
Sarah Levens, Lucas’ mother, says, “Christian has a way with Lucas, he is very patient and always encouraging. We have been blessed to have him as Lucas’ buddy.”