In this episode of the podcast we are joined by former Beat the Streets student-athlete Harold Anderson.
Harold is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business where he is concentrating in Management.
In the middle of sixth grade, Harold transferred to Belmont Charter and one day the wrestling coach approached him to join the team.
“I had no friends and wasn’t doing anything at that time,” he says. “So I’m like I might as well give it a try, I have nothing to lose.”
Harold immediately found a sense of purpose on the wrestling mat.
“It gave me that sense of camaraderie,” he explained. “That sense of being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”
Through Beat the Streets and the sport of wrestling, Harold met many mentors who pushed him to better himself on and off the mat.
“I met people who would later form my support system and people who are still in my support system.”
When he got the chance to join a travel team, he jumped at the opportunity. “I was like, take me anywhere, I’ll wrestle with anyone, I don’t care. I just want to go and experience stuff.”
Wrestling taught Harold many valuable lessons over the years that he still carries with him today. Harold recognized how important it was to support his peers along the way.
“In wrestling you have a responsibility to those around you,” Harold explains. “Whether that be helping someone who’s struggling with conditioning by doing an extra lap with them or making sure you’re paying attention to your teammates while they’re wrestling. If you see someone down sitting on the bench maybe just going by and saying ‘Hey, what’s up? Is everything, okay?’”
Nowadays, Harold continues to serve and be involved with the Beat the Streets community by helping organize the Youth Ambassadors Program, which is aimed to give a voice to the younger BTS graduates within the organization.
“There is a very strong case to be made for child empowerment and child advocacy. And knowing that children have things to say, that they know what they’re talking about. When you’re dealing with a specific group of people, whether that be kids or a marginalized group, you can’t do anything sustainably without using their actual voices.”
“And I think one of the big things that I want to accomplish with this group is giving the student athletes and their families more of a voice, more empowerment to actively be a part of changing their trajectory.”
Harold is continuing his track record of service with his career choice as well. He landed his dream opportunity with Viacom in their social responsibility department. And he is doing an internship with Nickelodeon Animation’s Community Efforts Department.
“I’m at a dream place, the kid me would have never believed. If you went to that kid who showed up to Belmont that day, and told him all these things happening, he would probably run away and be like, ‘Nah, get out of here.’”