Year-End Reflection Report

by Director Stephanie

We continue to #PlayItForward for kids through sports thanks to YOU!

I am thrilled to share updates during this time of giving and reflection. Our leaps forward have been significant, requiring much determination, introspection, and focused teamwork. The folks I have led with and continue to learn from motivate me daily. My own past team sports experiences have contributed, too! This note prompted me to look at old program collateral like this 2018 slide show highlighting the original Wolves squad, together with Michigan, Masco, and Boxford Badgers, or the Passion Pillars that drive me, but now, with more people and a clearer path—a bigger budget, too.

That passion for leveling the playing field for kids with fewer resources--starting with the Wolves–-is now embodied in our 3-year strategic plan, which was a critical learning process that wrapped up while finishing my master's degree and, oh yes, getting married, too, in Las Vegas. December 17 marked one year ago for all: the plan, graduation, and marriage—in no particular order 🙂. I have continued to adapt, apply, and benefit from all those experiences while staying connected to our Pillars model. However, the Persistence pillar is now being utilized more Patiently, especially in the latter arena. LOL

Most significantly, we have worked hard to get more people involved who possess the tools and the same passions for this evolving arena of sports-based youth development. Iris Inirio became our first Partnership Manager and reignited FUSE (Families United through Sports Experiences). Board President Nina Leach dedicates remarkable time to our plan objectives, which led to the fantastic Brightspot Consulting joining our squad to assist with grants. William Iniro, from our 1st boys' team, leads Academic Overtime, and I cannot say enough about the 50+ Coach Mentors responsible for the daily mentorship grind.

As we close 2023, these people are helping us become a go-to for SBYD, leading by example and collaborating with others, a central plan priority. Our selection to The Women's Fund Essex County Resilient Girls Project team signifies such a recent advancement. It is a 3-year grant earmarked for us to develop curriculum and training with the Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport, by applying their researched-backed Coaching Girls Toolkit to our unique needs. Another Partnership benefit is that Wellesley College will create a specialized evaluation protocol to measure our progress.

This opportunity also represents a full-circle moment and a reminder of the community of resources we have built. For example, former players, Oriagna Richards, now Communications Manager, and Celia Murphy, now back this winter after finishing her senior year at Towson, will advance this resiliency project. The actualization of young adults, or 'alums' who stay involved, like them, or Esmeralda, another original Wolves member, now a Triage Mental Health Counselor at Beth Israel Lahey, who joined our Advisory Board, plus others sharing and acknowledging that their involvement in Beyond has given them renewed inspiration, reinforces our belief that we are on the right path. Still, we have unmet needs and larger goals for impacting more lives- through sport. 

Thanks for letting me go down memory lane, and a huge thank you to those who have given to our year-end #PlayItFoward Appeal so we can continue further down this path together. Please enjoy some end-of-year highlights.


Stephanie McArdle

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