The Taft Program: Continuing HBS Tradition of Service

Each Saturday morning, Crimson Greetings returns to Shad Hall. Or at least the din and chaotic atmosphere return. However, instead of buying glitter and mincing supplies, HBS students participate in games and interact with middle-school students. The HBS/Taft Sports Program is a long-running partnership between HBS and The William Howard Taft Middle School in Brighton. The goal is to promote teamwork and cooperation through mentorship, sports, and activities. During the two-hour long program, Taft and HBS students participate in various sports including basketball, football, soccer, kickball, “bombardment” (dodgeball to the uninitiated) and “walley-ball” (volleyball in a squash court – you figure it out). In addition, the program is supplemented with one-off activities such as a cardmaking on Valentine’s Day, a web-design session and an apple-picking trip.

HBS volunteers get to serve as teammates, competitors, role models, and coaches for a group of genuinely amiable young people. Students and volunteers meet Saturday mornings at 9am in Shad Hall. All are welcome-students, partners, and faculty. For further information, please contact Cris Chiong, Elliot DeLoach, Tara Dixon, Ronan McCardle, Ore Owodunni or Mike Paley. We look forward to seeing you bright and early on Saturdays.

Why I get up at 9am on a Saturday Morning?

The HBS View…

“Because it’s a perfect way to mix 2 of my passions: sports and giving back… because kids in 6th-8th grade are still looking for role models … because the last time I played kickball before this was 15 years ago”.
-Luis Sanchez (ND)

“It makes me feel good for the rest of the day.”
-Caroline Cake (NA)

“I want to finally beat those kids in Kickball. Our three game losing streak is horrific! … Also, I do feel a responsibility for community service and being the type of model that they won’t see on TV, especially as a Black male.”
-Keith Bevans (OG)

“These kids are the only people on earth against whom I don’t have a height disadvantage when playing basketball and running around after 12 year olds is a better workout than 2 hours on the treadmill.”
-Shanaya Deboo (OE)

“The kids are hilarious. I don’t know that I am “helping” them as much as I could be maybe in a mentoring or tutoring program; however, I really just enjoy spending time with them. They are a whole new crowd for me to be around. They also give me a chance to test my leadership and team building tactics”
-Andwele Lewis (NI)

The Taft View …

“It can be very tiring waking up that early, but it’s worth it. Many of my friends love to go there with me. We have soccer, kickball, basketball, and our favorite is bombardment. Another reason I enjoy going is because of the HBS students. They are helpful, generous and act more as a best friend. We chat with them about our daily lives and things that are going on at the Taft. At the end of the day, we gather around our tables and answer trivia questions. The first table with the correct answer gets to eat first…. When it is over everyone leaves with a smile on his/her face. HBS is the place to be!”
-Tina Antoine, 8th grader

“The reason I wake up every Saturday morning to got to the Harvard sports program is really because I have friends that go. They live on the other side of Boston and we can’t play sports together outside anymore. Another reason is to workout and practice basketball”
-Joel Tejeda, 8th grader

“I have attended the sports program since grade 6 … I meet new friends, get good exercise, eat a healthy breakfast and most of all have fun. I think more school aged kids should also have a program as good as HBS.”
-Shantell Jeter, 8th grader

“A relationship with a student is significantly enhanced when the child sees you as a person who enjoys something other than the subject which you teach. … Students from the program frequently come back to the school and revisit the great times they had at the Taft and HBS. These memories will last because the program, for many of the kids, is the highlight of their week. Finally, the friendships that I have made with some of the HBS students and staff have been a wonderful by-product of this program.”
-William Rudder, Math Teacher