The HIGH 5 program exists because of the dedication of our volunteers, specifically our buddies. Each weekend, despite the demands on the time of a teenager, they show up ready to have a great time with HIGH 5 players. We are so proud of the many buddies who have helped this program grow.
During the spring 2016 season, we announced our first-ever Buddy Scholarship for a graduating senior. We asked one simple question: "What has HIGH 5 meant to you?" A small committee made up of parents, HIGH 5 directors and GEYA board members selected the winner, and the award was presented at our last HIGH 5 session.
Congratuations to this year's winner, Gabrielle Sampson! She will head to the University of Pittsburgh in the fall. Here is her essay:
HIGH 5 means a lot to me, and that’s a little bit ironic because, as buddies, we’re often thanked for sacrificing our time, and it’s this act that means a lot for others. But in reality? HIGH 5 has definitely meant a lot to me over the years, and has represented so much more than giving up a an hour or so every week.
Although pretty common, living with anxiety is definitely not easy. It’s like having a voice in the back of your head that’s constantly harassing you about the negative things that others might think of you, that you’re never good enough, that you’re going to mess up, that just by existing, you’re doing something inherently wrong.
But participating in HIGH 5 has helped me beyond measure with this. There’s nothing compared to having a bunch of kids just so excited to kick around a soccer ball with you. Especially in the beginning when I was new, it was so shocking to see how open the kids were, and didn’t care who I was - they just wanted to play soccer with someone! Even now, it’s so inexplicably reassuring when kids request you again- especially when it seemed as if they weren’t really enjoying themselves the last time you had them. It just goes to show that everyone’s different and expresses themselves differently - young or old, special needs or not - and that no matter what you think, you do actually matter to people.
HIGH 5 means putting aside my anxieties in order to help someone else out, but in the end, I’m the one who received the help in ways I never thought I would when I first signed up for the program, and this is what HIGH 5 means to me.
Thank you to all the HIGH 5 parents who contributed to the scholarship!