Miguel Palacio

Daily Point of Light # 3885 Dec 24, 2008

Miguel Palacio volunteers to serve youth in the Maryland area. For the past five years, he has served as a Flag and Basketball coach for Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commission in Youth Sports Programs.

Miguel is a dedicated coach who touches the lives of youth who participate in Harmony Hall Regional Center's year round sports programs. Though he is technically serving as a "coach," Miguel is a day-to-day mentor to the children he is working with.

Statistics tell us that youth who participate in mentoring relationships experience a number of positive benefits. In terms of educational achievement, mentored youth have better attendance, a better chance of going on to higher education and better attitudes towards school. In terms of health and safety, mentoring appears to help prevent substance abuse and reduce some negative youth behaviors. On the social and emotional development front, taking part in mentoring promotes positive social attitudes and relationships. Mentored youth tend to trust their parents more and communicate better with them. They also feel they get more emotional support from their friends than do youth who are not mentored.

Miguel teaches life skills and character as well as the fundamentals of sports. Each of the children who participate knows that Coach Miguel wants him or her to live up to their full potential as young adults. He is more concerned with them as youth than he is about the final score. However, Miguel let’s all the youth know they should not worry about the final score, but they should be humble in victory and proud in defeat.

Many may not feel what Miguel does is innovative or inspiring. However, when we watch the news and other media sources we are mostly shown the negative choices people make on a daily basis. Coach Miguel is in fact innovative because he has been a part of these young people's lives for the past five years. He is also inspirational because he is not only volunteering as a sports coach; he is a life-coach, touching the leaders of tomorrow!