March 19, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The UConn men's and women's tennis programs continue to be one of the more active groups supporting the surrounding communities in UConn athletics. Most recently, the two squads hosted the Polaris School for a day of events on the Storrs campus to show the students what life is like at UConn for student-athletes and to allow the students at the Polaris School to have a chance to experience UConn Country.
This is the second event this year in which UConn and the Polaris School have combined. UConn took a trip to the Polaris School in December and participated in games and ice-breakers to get to know the students.
The CREC John J. Allison Jr. Polaris Center in East Hartford has been proudly serving children and adolescents with learning disabilities and emotional, behavioral and/or psychiatric problems since 1976. The present day Polaris Center has evolved into a comprehensive treatment center offering quality educational and clinical programming for adolescents throughout the state of Connecticut.
Below is a question and answer session with Lorin Charanian, Job Coach for the Polaris School.
1. Why was it important that the students were able to spend time with the team?
Any type of mentoring has a positive impact on students. Being able to spend time with such a wonderful group of athletes helps them to start thinking about their futures and what college has to offer. Additionally, it is a very special treat to be able to go to UConn and experience what an athlete experiences. The students loved it.
2. How did this experience compare to the teams visit in December?
I think both experiences were very positive and the students enjoyed both. Being able to leave school for the day to spend time with the tennis team was truly special to them. The tour of the campus was amazing.
3. What kind of impact did the team make on the students?
I think that the team and the tour impacted the students by getting them thinking about where they want to go in their futures. The conversations that started after that trip helped me to help them set their goals and put a plan in place to achieve them. Additionally, some of the students even found that they had a skill they didn't know they had, playing tennis.
4. Could you see a difference in the students' attitudes when they were with the team?
Absolutely!! While the students were playing tennis they were laughing and enjoying themselves. I even noticed that when we may have not known how to do something, we were able to laugh at ourselves. That is an important skill to learn. I know that they had a lot of fun laughing at me. Everyone, including the tennis players, exhibited good sportsmanship, and that stuck with the students.
5. Do you think that if this relationship continues, both the students and the team will be impacted?
Yes, how could they not!!
6. What was it like for the students to visit the UConn campus?
The students were very excited and truly enjoyed their experience. The feedback was that the campus was like a town, the athletes have great facilities, they saw tremendous diversity, the players were so much fun, and they look forward to more opportunities to experience more with the tennis team at UConn.
7. Anything else I need to know?
The students and staff all had a wonderful time. I am so proud to be able to continue some form of mentoring programs for the students I am now working with. I believe that all of us feel that we would like to have more opportunities to grow and develop this relationship. We are very grateful!!