In this podcast episode, we get to speak with Kaya Sement, a Lead Mentor at BTS Philly. Kaya is a sophomore on the University of Pennsylvania wrestling team and brings tons of experience into the BTS room.
Kaya first became involved in Beat the Streets as the Lifting Coach for the student-athletes. He soon realized that being a coach meant more than just teaching the student-athletes technique.
"One day, one of the kids came up to me and said, 'Can I ask you some advice?' And I was like, 'Yeah, definitely.' And we ended up talking for 15 minutes."
But it didn't end there.
"There was another kid standing behind him, watching over the conversation. And when our conversation wrapped up, he came over and he's like, 'Wait, you're giving out advice? Can I ask you another question?' I was like, 'Yes, of course, I'm not just your lifting coach. I'm here for you guys.' And we ended up talking again for 15 minutes. And just seeing how appreciative they were. And I feel like you can't even put words into the face that he made. I thought about that a lot after that."
When sidelined from wrestling with an injury that spring, Kaya thought about these experiences and decided to take his involvement with Beat the Streets to the next level. He became a Lead Mentor, which allowed him to have an even more significant impact on the student-athletes.
Beat the Streets Philly Executive Director James Mangan added, "He committed to be a coach and a mentor this past year and our kids really respected him and looked up to him and confided in him."
For Kaya, though, working with the BTS athletes came naturally.
"The first thing I noticed was like, I don't have to be a motivator there. Those kids are very self driven. They want to be there. Their parents aren't making them. Nobody's forcing them to be there. They're self motivating. So they're honestly some of the easiest kids to coach because you put up the program, give them some tips, and they work hard. So that's definitely what I love."