‘Make them Feel like Flo-Jo’
For Coach B, self empowerment starts with excellence. She demands a strong work ethic, resilience, and respect for team and self. It’s hard work, but it pays off.
“I can make these kids feel like they’re Flo-Jo out here!” she says, referring to the legendary track and field athlete Florence Griffith Joyner.
Coach B’s commitment has made her a Harlem celebrity. Community members stop to greet her on the street. Children gleefully introduce her to their parents. Eyes light up when Coach B calls runners by the coveted nicknames she’s bestowed upon them.
As for “Coach B”: it’s short for “BooBee,” a loving nickname many kids give to a childhood coach.
Strong women leaders
A competitive runner since she was nine, Coach B joined the national Gazelle Track Club and the Jeunesse Athletic Club in Brooklyn as a teen. With the support of her Jeunesse coaches, she excelled in both athletics and academia.
“The leadership from those women was truly life-changing,” recalls Coach B, who, with her coach’s encouragement, attended and ultimately graduated from college. “Having strong women leaders was instrumental to who I am and what I give back to the youth.”
Support on and off the field
Her coaches went above and beyond for Coach B. Now, she does the same for her athletes. Besides helping them train for the big meet, she helps overcome personal struggles.
“I love these kids, I really do,” Coach B says. “I’m not restricted to just the sport. I support them in everything they do.”
Her athletes show support right back. Following the birth of her first daughter — and a 20-year hiatus — Coach B has started running competitively again. At first, she was nervous about competing. But when saw her supporters — students, parents, and community members — on the sidelines, she felt empowered to keep moving forward.