New Horizons is slowly becoming a well-oiled machine, and it’s all thanks to the volunteers, coaches, and donors who contribute.
In our new spotlight series, we will be getting to know more about how these folks incorporate New Horizons into their life and the rewards of doing so. Hopefully this inspires you to get involved in any form, including participating in our Amplify Austin Day fundraiser.
Our first installment of this series highlights a longtime supporter and coach, Erica Cray.
How did you hear about New Horizons?
I first heard about New Horizons at Martin Middle School through Coach Hamill. He taught me how to catch and throw one morning before all the kids rolled into the gym and I’ve been stuck to it ever since.
What made you choose to volunteer?
I chose to volunteer because I love giving my students an opportunity at something new. I also love a challenge when it comes to introducing new games and activities for my students that I may find fun.
How did volunteering fit into your life? Was it a hard adjustment?
Me volunteering with New Horizons actually fit right into my morning and evening coaching schedule. I was already staying at school early and late, and it wasn’t a hard adjustment at all.
How did you volunteer, and did that role evolve as time went on?
I first started out hosting morning soft lacrosse. We would practice skills for the first 30 minutes and then I would let the kids scrimmage 4v4 in the gym or outside on the small field. That role eventually ended up getting kids interested in starting an actual team for the middle school. I kept the same schedule and just added specific practice days that were required.
What is the most rewarding part of contributing to NH’s growth?
My most rewarding moment so far with NH’s is when my 2nd year girls team at Martin went 6-1 on the season. The first year was difficult because it was new and the girls were still learning and understanding the game. The girls having fun and coming together with this new sport made me so happy.
What kind of potential do you see from this organization?
The potential I see for New Horizons Lacrosse is being the leader in starting lacrosse programs in the urban communities and Title I schools here in Austin. There are so many kids that I believe will end up loving lacrosse if they just have the right people introducing it into their communities and sticking with the development of it.
Why should others consider also supporting?
I feel others should consider supporting NH’s because we’ve already made a small impact in the Eastside community just being at Martin Middle school, with both soft and regulation lacrosse. I’ve been teaching for almost 6 years now and my students who started with me my first year at Martin always speak about the fun memories and experiences they had. It has opened their eyes to new things like traveling with your team to different parts of town and meeting new people. The possibilities are endless. Not every kid wants to play basketball, volleyball, and football. Lacrosse is different and it can help change lives just by getting kids involved.