He loves sports and is a big basketball fan, so when 16-year-old Brandon Shintani started thinking about the mental game of sports, he realized a key component of building young athletes was missing.
Founding Mind-Design Sports in 2019, Brandon, a Ridgewood, New Jersey high school junior, offers sports psychology resources and programming that pairs young athletes with high school and college student volunteers, all in the name of a better game. Connecting with thousands across the world through his online education, advocacy and programming, Brandon is setting kids up for success by helping athletes improve their bodies and minds.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I played competitively at a young age, and wish I had access to sports psychology. Some youth athletes don’t have money or access to a trainer, but have the desire to do well. I am inspired to volunteer to open the door to free, accessible and easy to use programs.
Describe your volunteerism with Mind-Design Sports.
As founder and CEO, I manage projects, our student volunteers, and am in the process of promoting merchandise on our website, the profits from those sales will be donated to the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF). Young athletes can face stress playing sports, and accompanying health issues can result. Our program is designed to prevent those issues, pairing elementary and middle school students with high school and college athletes who provide mentorship advice. Our volunteer team members are based in the United States and around the world, in places like New Zealand, China and Britain, so we are exposing young athletes to different sports and new perspectives.
Share one personal story with me from your volunteerism.
In addition to our online resources and blogs, we offer podcasts on a variety of topics. I received an email from a person about a podcast we’d recorded on chess. He wrote that he really appreciated our podcast and to keep making them, because chess sports psychology is not a topic typically touched upon. That heartwarming message really resonated with me, because it shows that using online platforms like podcasts are powerful. I like to do the work but also it feels really good to know I am making an impact and people appreciate the work.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
Volunteering is a good way to help your community and help those you really think need that help.
What motto guides your service?
Always try to make the best use of your time. I don’t want to sit on the couch and watch Netflix when I could instead do something that impacts myself and others. Make sure the top of your priority list is high-impact and can help people.
In one word, what does volunteering mean to you?
When you’re not busy volunteering or in school, what do you do for fun?
I listen to music, hang out with friends and work out.
How can readers help?
Please visit the Mind-Design Sports website for more information about how you can help.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Brandon Shintani? Find local volunteer opportunities.