Mentor Helps Children Stay Active and On the Right Path

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Tatiana Tucker, Child Care Program Specialists, Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families

“Staying active has always helped me”, said Lester Asamoah, a mentor through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program in Oklahoma City, OK. Growing up in the heart of inner Oklahoma City, Lester’s options for free play were limited: he could either play sports or play video games.  Going against the grain, Lester chose to stay active, playing sports throughout his childhood.  Now, he strives to support kids in his neighborhood who also want to stay active, even though they may live in an adverse environment.  

These days, Lester serves as the mentor to a 3rd grader in Oklahoma City who loves to play soccer. Lester believes that his mentee’s love for sports keeps him active and engaged in something positive.  

When Lester speaks of his mentee, he’s clear about why he believes mentoring through sports helps children to develop not only a healthier lifestyle, but also a positive outlook on life: 

“He lives in an area that where many boys end up on the streets at a young age,” Lester says. “So for him, staying active helps to not only keep him from the wrong crowd, but it may very well decide the course of his future.”

Lester decided to become a Big Brother so he could give back to kids just like him.  He hopes to show them that playing sports can lead them on a path to a brighter future. 

When they’re together, Lester and his mentee play soccer, or the young boy’s other favorite sport, basketball.  “He has dreams of being a pro soccer player, like many nine year olds,” Lester says.  “This dream gets him to practice every day and it keeps him in a safe environment.  His dream helps him to complete his homework because he knows that after his homework is done, he and I can play sports or attend our home team basketball games to watch the Oklahoma Thunder.” 

Lester understands the value of sports and mentoring children to keep them healthy and on the right path. Lester says, “Mentoring kids in sports and being active brings much more than health benefits. It’s also a great way to bond and help the next generation.”

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