Making an impact on and off the field
Tiguida is now making the same impact as Coach B. In her role, Tiguida helps her scholars succeed on and off the field – coaching track in the afternoon and tutoring her scholar-athletes in math in the evening. She creates an environment where well-rounded scholar-athletes are celebrated and nurtured.
“It’s not only about winning trophies,” she says. “This is also about earning diplomas, going to college, and building successful careers.”
Current scholar-athlete and Harlem Children’s Zone Track Team captain Sayon Keita has the guidance of three mentors in Coach B, Tiguida, and Fanta. Leveraging this support, along with her athletic talent, Sayon became the team MVP this season.
“I don’t have just one mentor on the team; I look up to a lot of the junior coaches, like Fanta,” Sayon says. “She’s been in my position and watching what she’s doing inspires me because that’s something I want to do.”
Nurturing the next generation of mentors
Winning track meets takes hard work, practice, and consistency. That winning culture wouldn’t be possible without a culture of mentorship. During track team practices, the sounds of cheering and laughter, sneakers hitting the floor, and bouncing music fill the cavernous HCZ Armory space. Coach B, Coach Tiguida, and Coach Fanta nurture the community that helped them grow into the leaders – and mentors – they are today. In the process, they’re nurturing the next generation of mentors.
“I see myself in the kids that are on the team now and I relate to them,” Fanta says. “They can come to me for advice because I’ve been through what they are going through now.”