Americorps Service Spotlight: Cris Martinez

wrigley.jpgCurrently serving Urban Initiatives as a LISC Americorps member, Coach Cris understands the value of his role in his student athlete’s lives. When asked about the impact that his service has on the youth he works with, Coach Cris responded, “I feel that giving players someone they can relate to and look up to is important for them, and you can tell from how invested we are in each other. They love when I tell them how great they are and whenever I get one of them to smile, it can keep me going for days.”

Coach Cris knows that his role in their lives and the things they learn from him will be vital as they get older and start making real decisions of their own. Just being there as someone they can talk to about anything, from getting help with soccer or their homework, to talking about issues they see in their community, he knows that what he does matters.

Urban Initiatives is lucky to have gotten such a leader in service as Cris to be a member of our team. This match was made due to Cris’ and UI’s belief that we would allow him the ability to make a difference in his community, as well as provide for him a platform to be a positive example to all of Chicago’s communities. “The opportunity to connect and engage youth and their families from so many different areas of the city just couldn’t be passed up!” exclaims Coach Cris.

Along with being an awesome coach, Coach Cris is also a diehard Cubs fan. “My favorite memory this season had to be when we took our kids to Wrigley Field and let them play soccer in the outfield grass. Just being there on the field was a lifelong dream fulfilled, and seeing the fun our kids were having, it was just a magical moment.” Coach Cris loves his job more than green kool-aid and his momma’s home-made tortillas, which is saying something.

Coach Cris’ parting message for those considering a year of service with Americorps: “Celebrate all the small victories because your year will be quite overwhelming at times. Just have fun and don’t let this wonderful time pass you by.

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