BTS Fall Update

October is here, and at Beat the Streets Philadelphia that means…ONLY 43 DAYS UNTIL WRESTLING SEASON! The PIAA wrestling season is nearly upon us and we couldn’t be more excited! With a new season comes a clean slate for everyone stepping on the mat. Last year’s successes and shortcomings are now well in the rearview mirror, and opportunity is all that lies ahead. With that said, here are a few updates on the opportunities available to our community; the opening of our Mentoring Center, pre-season training opportunities at PAL, and our Coach Development Clinic on 10/21!

Before we get to wrestling, we would like to announce that the Beat the Streets Philadelphia Mentoring Center will officially be open this Monday, October 9th! Mon-Thurs (3-7p), wrestlers enrolled in the Mentoring Menter will have the opportunity to work 1-on-1 with an academic mentor on a day of the week that works for them. At BTSP, we help student-athletes manage their studies, help them however we can, and prepare them for future success. Never been to the BTSP Mentoring Center before? No Problem! Contact Mentoring Director Ben Reiter ([email protected]) or call our office at 215-454-2255 to schedule an appointment and get started today!

On the mat, BTSP is already offering training opportunities through club wrestling at the Rizzo PAL Center in Port Richmond. Practices run Tues/Thurs (7-8:30p) and the room is already filled with wrestlers of all ages. For directions, and regular updates on the PAL Wrestling Club, check follow their Facebook Page.

Lastly, we have a PSA for all Beat the Streets Coaches. On Saturday, October 21st PRTC Head Coach and Olympic Gold Medalist Brandon Slay will be hosting a Coach Development Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania; FREE to all BTSP Coaches. To provide the best coaching possible to all of our student-athletes, we urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to hone your abilities as a coach and continue to improve. To sign up, Wrestling Director Juan Ramos ([email protected]) or call our office at 215-454-2255

What’s been particularly impressive to this point in the year has been the excitement of our wrestlers. Since day one of the school year, our office has had many kids who are staying on top of their studies at our Mentoring Center and actively seeking out training opportunities wherever they can find them. These kids know that doing the right things in November leads to success in March; and that’s inspiring. It’s going to be a great season and we can’t wait to get things officially going!

In Their Shoes – Angel Garcia

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

I was born in Fajardo; a large town in eastern Puerto Rico. When I was 2 years old, my parents picked up everything we had and moved to the United States. They did this because they wanted a better life for me and my 6 siblings (3 brothers & 3 sisters; I’m the middle child). Looking 14 years ahead, I now live in North Philadelphia and go to Marianna Bracetti Charter School as I’m getting ready to enter my sophomore year….but there’s much more to me than that. I’m Angel Garcia, and this is my story.
Growing up in my neighborhood has been anything but easy. Anyone who knows the area at all knows North Philadelphia is a rough part of town. Violence and drugs are almost a part of daily life and at every turn it seems there are people trying to drag you down. When I was younger, I was at risk of giving in to a negative lifestyle. At a pretty young age ‘friends’ (I use that term lightly) often tried to pressure me into making bad choices and every time I backed away they would call me names just because I wasn’t following their lead. Even though I made the right decisions, hanging around these types of people put my parents in a tough situation. My mom and dad would worry about me coming home late and being out in a rough neighborhood at night. Back then, I didn’t really care about hurting my parents. I remember coming home one night close to 1:00am and my mother yelling at me,

“Angel Damian Garcia, where were you all night!? I’ve been calling you, looking for you, and worrying about you. I thought you were dead!”

Instead of apologizing, I told her it was none of her business. Somehow, those words didn’t even affect me at the time. All I cared about was being tough and I thought I could do anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. That was before I found wrestling.
Wrestling changed my life and it all began in 7th grade. I was walking down the hall and arguing with another student and all of a sudden I lost control. The next thing I knew I picked this kid up and slammed him into the ground just as the teachers pulled us apart. One of those teachers was my P.E. teacher Mr. Greer. After telling me that what I did was wrong, he suggested that I think about putting my anger to good use by wrestling. Where a lot of teachers just saw a kid with a bad temper, Coach Greer saw potential. Later that week I went to my first practice and it turned out I was pretty good! I went to practice everyday and tried to get a little better each day.
I remember my first match like it was yesterday. On a Saturday morning at Drexel University I was matched up against a kid I called ‘Superman’ (I called him that because he wore a headgear with a superman logo on the side). I could tell right away he was more experienced and he was bigger than me, but I stayed tough and battled him all the way through the 3rd period. After a big thrown late in the match, I ended up winning the match by 6 points! In just my first match, I learned a really important lesson about wrestling; don’t ever let the way your opponent looks scare you, just wrestle. The rest of my 7th grade year I accomplished a lot. I competed on dual teams, won a few tournaments, and even took 11th at Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling States! My hard work and success continued throughout middle school and into my high school career.
My freshman season at MBA Charter was a success, but I’ve got my sights set way higher. As a starter at 152, I placed in some tough regular season tournaments, came within one match of qualifying for the PIAA State Tournament, and took 3rd at the Fargo National Championships in greco-roman. Entering this season, I want more. This season, I sat down with BTSP and wrote out my 3 goals for the season:

1 – Finish Top 3 at the PIAA State Tournament

2 – Double All-American at the Fargo National Championships

3 – Improve in close matches by being more offensive

Accomplishing these short term goals is great, but ultimately I’m looking toward my larger goal of competing for a Division 1 wrestling program; and it’s all a possibility because of Beat the Streets.
Despite living in a community filled with negative influences, wrestling gave me a positive outlet. The sport has taught me hard work which has driven me to focus on my studies, taught me discipline to help me make better decisions, and given me the perspective to set the educational goal of becoming a lawyer. Most importantly, since wrestling, I’ve grown closer with my family. I still can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t care about how my actions affect the people who care about me, but that is now way behind me. Today, we all share a bond that cannot be broken. I thank God that I was able to leave the old me behind and become the brother, son, friend, and teammate that I am today.

Angel has been a part of Beat the Streets for four years now and it has been incredibly rewarding to watch this kid grow. We are all so proud of the progress he has made as a wrestler and person in such a short time. All of us here at BTSP have no doubt this kid is headed for greatness.
With that said, there are many kids like Angel who have the potential for greatness, but haven’t yet been challenged. We know there are kids out there we can help, but we need your support. If this story was compelling to you, please consider contributing to our cause. If you are unable to make a financial commitment, but would still like to help us in ‘Positively Altering Life’s Trajectory’ then please consider volunteering as a coach or mentor today.

September Wrestler of the Month-Pat Daly

Each month, Beat the Streets Philadelphia recognizes one student-athlete as ‘Wrestler of the Month.’ Selections are made based on recommendations from coaches, mentors, and/or BTS staff. For September, we have selected Pat Daly of the Police Athletic League! At 12 years old, entering 6th grade at the Science Leadership Academy Middle School, Pat has been wrestling since he was six years old. He has been a big part of the PAL Wrestling program and rarely misses a practice. This month, Pat was one of the first people to ask us about coming to the Mentoring Center. Despite being one of our younger wrestlers, Pat took the initiative to seek us out an re-engage on his own. Combined with his longtime commitment to wrestling through PAL, it was easy to recognize such a great kid!
When we sat down with Pat last week to talk to him, he shared with us that what actually got him started wrestling was an interest in WWE. He recalled walking into his first practice (as MANY of our kids have) expecting to climb into a ring with a mask on an pile drive the other kids. Much to his surprise, however, this type of wrestling was much different. Over the years, Pat says that he has grown to love ‘real’ wrestling. He has made many friends, really likes his coaches (especially Coach Ed), and says the physicality of the sport is his favorite aspect of it.
Off of the mat, Pat says that wrestling has helped him with focus and discipline in school; but more than anything it has taught him confidence. In Pat’s observation, there’s no room for doubting yourself in wrestling; if you second guess decisions on the mat you’re probably going to find yourself on your back. In the classroom, Pat says this has helped him to confidently give answers in class, on tests, and while doing homework!
After talking about wrestling, we asked Pat if he knows yet what he wants to be when he grows up. Impressively, Pat says that he wants to be a marine. When we asked him why, he gave us a very simple answer almost instantly:

“Because I love my country and I want to defend it. I believe in it, and that’s something I want to fight for”

(…Yeah, wow was our reaction too). For a 12 year old to express that sentiment is particularly impressive. While he certainly still has a lot of time left in school, we look forward to working with him as he works toward achieving his goals.
We closed by asking Pat who his favorite athlete was and why. Pat say his favorite athlete is Jordan Burroughs. A few years ago, Burroughs made a visit to PAL and Pat was particularly impacted by it. Specifically, Burroughs’ ability to ‘flip the switch’ between being a killer on the mat and a genuinely nice person off of it was something that resonated with Pat. He says that that’s the type of person he tries to be.
If you would like to contribute to Beat the Streets and help to create more opportunities for kids like Pat, you can visit our Donate Now page here. If you would like to consider giving in other ways, either as a mentor or wrestling coach, please fill out one of our interest forms and we’ll be in touch!
 

Mentoring – From the Mat to the Classroom

In July of 2016, B.J. Futrell moved to Philadelphia to continue his wrestling career with the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center. A qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Trials, Futrell had long been aware of Beat the Streets and admired the organizations work from afar. Last summer, shortly after settling into the city, B.J. sought out BTSP and expressed his interest in giving back to the sport that has given him so much. Beat the Streets was elated to have the help of a world-class athlete and immediately found a program that could use his leadership, Belmont Charter. After nearly a year of coaching, this past March, B.J. developed a bond with 8th grader Quion Harris.
Quion had been a part of Belmont wrestling most of the time B.J. served as a coach, but it wasn’t until a regional freestyle qualifier in the spring of 2017 that the two began to form a relationship. Quion was competing in a tournament and noticed shortly before getting on the mat that he was without a coach. Looking around quickly, he found a familiar face in B.J. and asked him to sit in his corner. From that point on, the two spend the better part of the day together and got to know each other. Ironically, it turned out that both Quion and B.J. had recently expressed an interest in getting involved with the Beat the Streets Mentoring Center. From the perspective of Beat the Streets mentoring staff, this was a perfect match. Often, the best mentoring relationships form naturally and when things work out that way we consider it a win! Entering the coming school year, the two plan to meet weekly at the Mentoring Center at 3700 Market Street. There, B.J. can help Quion with schoolwork, life, and goal setting.
Quion is always excited to meet with B.J. and values their time in the mentoring center. We took some time last week to sit down with Quion and talk to him about this thoughts on Coach Futrell. When asked his thoughts here’s what he had to say:

“I like that Coach Futrell always listens to me and cares about me. Talking everything out with coach helps me feel good about school, wrestling, and everything going on in my life.”

Their mentoring relationship is clearly paying off; Quion is dedicated in school and on the mat, and has developed admirable character. Coach Futrell had some  really nice things to say about who Quion is as a person:

 “Quion is a joy to be around. I look forward to him walking through the doors before practice time. No matter what is going on he is always in good spirit and gives his best effort.”
Quion is very intelligent. He is a young man with a lot of wisdom and knows how to make good choices that will propel him in the classroom and on the wrestling mat. He is a very intentional listener and takes time to think before he responds. He is a good role model for his younger brother. Quion is a leader, not so much through words as he is a more quiet & soft spoken kid, but through his actions.”

B.J. and Quion are a fantastic example of how mentoring relationships can bud organically. Sometimes, mentors don’t realize the true impact they have on student athletes; but at BTSP we see it everyday. Mentors aren’t just a tutor or another adult to the students. Mentors are a role model, a coach, and a friend to the kids they work with and the lasting impact they have even in the smallest things is monumental.

Beat the Streets Philadelphia works everyday to Positively Alter Life’s Trajectory for thousands of kids like Quion throughout the Philadelphia area; but we can’t do it alone. If you would like to contribute to our cause, please visit our donate now page to learn more about our ways to give. If you would like to donate your time as a mentor, feel free to visit our mentoring page or fill out a mentoring interest form.
 

Beat the Streets Summer Wrestling Recap

The Beat the Streets Philadelphia (BTSP) off-season wrestling program was extremely successful this year. After establishing four off-season sites, each with a dedicated Pennsylvania Regional Training Center (PRTC) athlete as a clinician, BTSP was able to qualify four athletes to take advantage of the high-level training available at the PRTC. In short, qualifying to the PRTC means gaining the opportunity to train with some of the top wrestlers in the world as well as the chance to drill with the top competition in Philadelphia and its’ surrounding area. Of the four athletes who’ve qualified, both Angel Garcia (Mariana Bracetti Academy) and Daishawn Tilghman (Overbrook) stood out this summer as two guys who are liable to make some noise during the folkstyle season.
In addition to qualifying for the PRTC, Angel and Daishawn both qualified for Cadet National Duals through their successful folkstyle seasons where they helped the Pennsylvania Red team to a 3rd Place finish in Greco-Roman and a 4th Place finish in Freestyle. Additionally, both wrestlers were selected by Beat the Streets Philadelphia (alongside 10 other BTSP wrestlers) to attend a great cross-face cradle series camp run by Maurice Atwood, a 19x State Championship Head Coach from North Carolina. While there were a number of BTSP student-athletes who excelled this summer in their efforts to improve, Angel and Daishawn stood out from the rest and anyone who’s been a part of their offseason training has taken notice.
Those who don’t already know these kids soon will. Both Daishawn and Angel are poised to be leaders, not only within their respective programs, but throughout Beat the Streets Philadelphia programs. Off the mat, Daishawn has actively participated in BTSP mentoring for years and Angel is looking forward to becoming engaged in mentoring as well. All of us at Beat the Streets Philadelphia are excited to see these two hit the mat for the folkstyle season and show everyone how much they’ve improved.
In addition to these two standouts, Beat the Streets Philadelphia has a lot to be excited about this wrestling season. With folkstyle season around the corner, BTSP also has some incoming freshman who are ready to make some noise. Aboubakare Diaby (Central High School) and Reynaldo Garcia (Mariana Bracetti Academy) are two young men who have a real ability to break their respective lineups in 2018 and get some valuable mat time.
As Beat the Streets continues to grow, there will surely be more student-athletes like Daishawn and Angel who are just waiting to break out and be recognized at the state and/or national level. In order to support the growth of our athletes, however, we need your help. The generosity of our donors, volunteers, and BTSP community members has allowed Beat the Streets Philadelphia to aid thousands of wrestlers in achieving their goals on and off the mat, but we are always looking toward future growth. We ask that you please consider supporting Beat the Streets Philadelphia through either through our ‘Donate Now’ page, ‘online store’, as a volunteer mentor, or coach. For more information on our organization, please see How We Help or give us a call at 215-454-2255

August Wrestler of the Month- Aboubakare Diaby

Each month, Beat the Streets Philadelphia recognizes one student-athlete as ‘Wrestler of the Month.’ Selections are made based on recommendations from coaches, mentors, and/or BTS staff. Recommended by coach Ian Hammond and BTS staff member Dan Altomare, the Wrestler of the Month for August is Aboubakare Diaby!
Champions don’t become great by training when everyone else does; they do so by working while their competition rests and when nobody is watching. For Aboubakare, this mantra has defined his summer not only on the mat, but in the classroom as well. While most kids chose to stay home and relax, Aboubakare challenged himself. Over the past three months, he chose to partake in the Beat the Streets Summer Program and attend wrestling camp in North Carolina. In the Summer Program, Aboubakare was engaged daily; he asked questions, honed his math skills, and attended every single class. Additionally, Aboubakare traveled with a select group of Beat the Streets wrestlers to North Carolina for a week-long wrestling camp. For his commitment to learning, dedication to wrestling, and overall embodiment of what a Beat the Streets Philadelphia wrestler should be, Aboubakare is an extremely deserving recipient of this distinction.
This fall, Aboubakare will be entering his freshman year at Central High School after performing exceedingly well at Mastery Charter School. He began wrestling two years ago after being encouraged by his teacher, Mr. Wise, and he largely credits his work ethic in the classroom to the sport of wrestling. When asked about how wrestling has helped him in life, Aboubakare had this to say:

            “Yes, definitely. In 8th grade I became very interested in attending Central High School. While I was always a good student, wrestling gave me the tools to grow as a student. BTS helped me keep my grades up, go through the high school application process, and make my interest a reality.”

From a wrestling standpoint, what Aboubakare enjoys most about wrestling is the individuality within a team sport. He says wrestling has taught him a lot about accountability. To him, this means not just taking credit for his successes, but owning up to his failures. He looks forward to continuing to wrestle at Central High School and competing at 126.
Looking past high school, Aboubakare has his sights set high. At this point, Aboubakare says that he’s interested in studying civil engineering. His interest in engineering stems from his enamorment with the buildings in Philadelphia and how some structures are both creative and functional. Secondarily, he has considered studying law. Aboubakare attributes this interest to his dissatisfaction with the judicial system as it currently stands and says he wants to be part of the change he hopes to see in the future. His favorite school is Penn State University.
Lastly, Aboubakare told us that his favorite athlete is Kyle Dake. He chose Kyle Dake because of how much he admires his persistence in challenging Jordan Burroughs. Despite falling short to this point, Aboubakare sees resilience in Dake and cites his recent close matches as reason to believe that a win over Burroughs isn’t far off.
For those who didn’t know Aboubakare before reading, we hope this sheds some light on who this awesome kid is. If you’re a coach, volunteer, parent, or part of the Beat the Streets Philadelphia community, we bet you know some other other kids who deserve to be recognized as well. If there’s a wrestler at your program who has done an outstanding job, contact us at [email protected], write ‘WOM-(Wrestler Name)’ in the subject line, and tell us briefly why the student-athlete you’re recommending should be recognized!


If you want to support Beat the Streets and help wrestlers like Aboubakare, visit our Donate Now page

Beat the Streets Nation – Executive Director Search

Beat the Streets National is hiring an Executive Director
Reporting to the Board of Directors, The Executive Director (ED) will have full strategic and operational responsibility of Beat the Streets National’s mission, staff, and growth initiatives.  The Executive Director will provide educational resources, and support growth of city programs within Beat the Streets. Areas of support may consist of board development, insurance guidance, programming advice, best practices, and expanding and identifying funding opportunities. These city programs will follow approved standard operating procedures focused in the areas of governance, administration, programming, and metrics, as outlined by the national organization.
Responsibilities

  • Foster growth and support of Beat the Streets Member Organizations
  • Execute and maintain licenses and adherence by Member Organizations
  • Expand access to resources for Beat the Streets Member Organizations
  • Develop and execute strategic marketing plan to increase national and international presence
  • Define and track impact measurement, and routinely evaluate performance
  • Identify, develop, and diversify revenue opportunities to support existing operations and new initiatives
  • Improve sustainability through licensing, partnerships, individual donations, corporate donations, and grants
  • Develop and manage within the organizations budget, ensure financial documentation in compliance of Local, State, and Federal requirements
  • Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors
  • Travel to each member organizations at least once per year

Qualifications

  • Bachelors degree, MBA preferred or 10 years relevant senior management experience in related field
  • Past success working with a Board of Directors
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse groups of people
  • Independently motivated with a passion for the organizations mission
  • High energy, interpersonal relationship builder, able to influence others to achieve organizational goals
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders
  • Residence within 50 miles of an existing BTSN Member organization

Acting as a resource for member Beat the Streets City Programs, Beat the Streets National supports the creation, development, and sustainability of youth wrestling programs through the identification and adoption of best practices, and by providing a framework for which member programs can leverage the collective expertise of a national organization.
 
Beat the Streets National is focused on sports-based youth development opportunities in communities that are undeserved as defined by limited access to wrestling. Today, Beat the Streets consists of four member organizations throughout the United States and a growing number of International programs, with a strong emphasis on the expansion and development of wrestling for both boys and girls. Beat the Streets National is a 501(c)3 non-profit.
 
Candidates may submit their application and cover letter through indeed.com here.
Application Deadline: September 10th, 2017

In Their Shoes-Khasim Mu'min

“The battle of life is, in most cases, fought uphill; and to win it without a struggle were perhaps to win it without honor. If there were no difficulties there would be no success; if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.” – Samuel Smiles

     I’m from a place where opportunities and chances are rarely given. Where I come from the words of Samuel Smiles speak volumes;  to get what you deserve, it feels like you have to work harder than everyone else to be successful. I want to be great and hope to someday pave the way for future generations of African Americans. Today, opportunities for African Americans are restricted in less affluent neighborhoods. Statistically, we are less likely to succeed. To allude to the analogy outlined by Smiles, I feel as though life for me is a battle uphill while others are running the same race on flat ground. With limited educational opportunities, harsh financial barriers, and a surrounding environment filled with negativity, many people in my neighborhood fall victim to detrimental lifestyles. Knowing this, I’ve always told myself I never want to live just to become part of a statistic.
     Hello, my name is Khasim Mu’min. I’m a 17 year-old African American male born and raised in West Philadelphia. I come from a huge family whose forebearers were generations of black Americans living below the poverty line. The uphill battle I talked about before has always been a challenge for my family. Sometimes chances were presented before them, but for one reason or another they failed to grasp it; potentially out of fear of failure. I wanted to be different. Wanting to be different, I was set on changing the path my family had always settled for; I would rise! As a kid, I faced many challenges. My mother and stepfather did their best to shield my siblings and I, but it’s tough to avoid seeing some of the negativity around me.
     I attended Belmont Charter School through the 8th grade. Belmont was really where I started to put things together. When I started, school wasn’t my top-priority. I liked to joke around in class, get into trouble, and I cared more about sports and social life than my future. All that changed, however, when I sat down with Mr. Sherman. Mr. Sherman was, and still is in charge of behavior support at Belmont Charter School. One day in 5th grade, he told me “if you don’t sit down and think about your life.. you’ll either be dead or in jail before you hit 15.” I remember every word, and I remember the exact way he said it to me. From that point on, I got myself together and straightened up. I began taking school as seriously as I did my sports. I had my head in the books, and I played football and ran track & field. The sport that changed me most, however, was wrestling.
     I began wrestling in 5th grade and thought it was cool because of WWE. But let me tell you, my first practice was nothing like what I watched on television! There were no ropes or  suplexes and it was about the furthest thing from what I saw John Cena doing on my TV. My first year didn’t go as expected and at the end of the year I even considered quitting. My coach, Ed McCabe, talked me into sticking it out however and I was glad I did. Over the next two years, I worked to get better and it paid off! After three seasons, I was invited to wrestle for the BTS Philly Dual Team and my Belmont Tigers. The dual team was challenging and rewarding, but the Belmont Tigers was the team I’ll never forget. We were the best middle school team in Philadelphia and everyone knew it. We were filled with athletes up and down the lineup and coaches Ed McCabe and Nick Sellers got the best out of all of us. They taught me what a hard practice was, how to be a contender, and what it meant to be a good wrestler. Coach McCabe and Coach Nick taught me so much more than just wrestling though; they taught me the importance of life.

“Khasim you have so much potential, you just have to use it to your advantage. You have the potential to go far, and be great.” – Chris Hanlon (Fmr. BTS Executive Director)

“You need to take advantage of these opportunities given to you, opportunities like this don’t come around for young African-American men all the time.” – Huseyn Ahmad (Khasim’s Stepfather)

“It makes me happy to know I motivate you to keep going, and I’ll continue to do that. I want you to remember if no one sees the potential in you, I do! I’m your biggest fan and number one supporter.” – Aziah Gray (Khasim’s Girlfriend)

     Webster’s dictionary defines potential as “latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and can possibly lead to future success or usefulness.” People have always told me I have potential; and to me that potential isn’t limited. In 8th grade, as is the case for all Philadelphia students, I began thinking about high school. My grades were okay but my behavior was a big problem. My attendance was low, I had a bit of a mean-streak, and it was undoubtedly going to affect my ability to get into high school if things didn’t change. In comes Ms. Yuille; my guidance counselor. Ms. Yuille and I spoke plenty in middle school and when we began to speak about high school, her perception of my potential (or lack thereof) was glaringly obvious. I can still clearly remember a conversation with her where she said “You won’t be able to get into the high school of your choice because of your attendance. You might as well get ready to attend West Philadelphia High.” (If you don’t know already, West Philadelphia is not a school you ever want to end up in). These harsh words might have hurt some, but they lit a fire in me. I told Ms. Yuille “Yea, we’ll see about that.” From that point on, I worked as hard as possible not only for myself, but to prove Ms. Yuille wrong. She didn’t see my potential, and that was her loss; because I saw it in myself.
     In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what school I was going to at the time but I knew it wouldn’t be West Philadelphia High. I was denied by many schools because of attendance, but I ended up being accepted to Palumbo High school in South Philadelphia. While I was definitely proud, I wasn’t satisfied and wanted more. In comes The Phelps School. Phelps School is a boarding school for boys in Malvern, PA. When the opportunity first became available, I thought about saying ‘no’. I was hesitant about an all-boys school, leaving Philadelphia, and fitting in at a boarding school. That was when I sat down with my stepdad Huseyn. He sat me down and said:

“Think about the opportunities that have just been handed to you. Is this something you wanna pass up? With these opportunities you are destined to go far, and do anything you put your mind to. Think about it like this, Kha. How many boys your age and skin color get a chance like this? Not too many, too few. You can’t pass this up. Go for it. Take advantage of this opportunity Khasim.”

       With financial aid from the Phelps School that would follow me through my high school years and tuition assistance from Beat the Streets Philadelphia, I came to the realization that this was an opportunity I had to take advantage of. As I mentioned above, my family had opportunities they had missed out on in the past and I couldn’t afford to make that same mistake. The day after speaking with my stepfather I signed my papers and made the leap into the next phase of my life.
     In the Fall of 2015 I started my freshmen year at The Phelps School. I met kids from 18 different countries, picked up new languages, and learned different traditions. I was surprisingly comfortable with the dorm life and found it easy to be myself with everyone. That’s when the staff started to notice my leadership ability. Two months into school I was already being recognized for my character. At the Phelps School there are awards for academic success success and behavior. Commendations, Merit, and Lion’s Pride (in that order) are the three highest awards students are given each quarter. After maintaining high grades, showing respect to all, and continuing to lead others in the right direction I was awarded commendations and merit in consecutive semesters. Going forward, my goal is to earn Lions Pride before graduating. At the end of the year I was elected Class President. Sports was went well. I finished my freshmen year with great grades.
     This past year was my sophomore year and I learned a lot! I served as proctor in my dorm, South Beattie. At Phelps, being proctor is having leadership in and out the dorm and ensuring that the rules are followed. Despite initial doubts, many staff members told me “it would be a great opportunity, and something I should consider doing.” Those words again reminded me of the time I was given the opportunity to attend Phelps. I ended up accepting the position and it went very well for me. Being proctor was easy for me. I used my natural leadership ability to my advantage and students listened to me because they respected me. I made situations easy for everyone. Additionally, I also served as Class President my sophomore year. Being Class President is tough. I had to make decisions not just for myself, but for my whole class. I made it work. I was also inducted into National Honors Society. I made this possible by maintaining high grades, showing growth, continuing with my leadership roles. Before, this was something I thought was impossible for me; in fact, I never even considered this as a goal for myself. I faced some obstacles during my sophomore year, mostly in wrestling. My main issue was weight management, and more specifically, laziness. I didn’t hit the gym like I was supposed to. On top of that, an eye injury kept me out of the lineup for a good part of the season. After finally making it back, Coach Miles told me I had two options; sitting on as a backup at 195 or competing up at 220. The decision was easy for me, I wanted to wrestle! PA State tournament came quickly and after only three weeks back on the mat I had some doubts about my preparedness. The first day I went 2-1 and the second day I went 2-2, finishing the tournament in 7th place. Although I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, I know I can get better. Next year, my goal is to place top 5! I accomplished so much my sophomore year, but it wouldn’t be possible without the right people backing me. I’m really excited for the 2017-18 school year and all the possibilities.
     It’s a blessing to be where I’m at today. I overcame many obstacles throughout my life. Some people doubted me, stood in my way, or tried to knock me down but I persevered. I was raised in one of the toughest neighborhoods of Philadelphia. I never thought I’d make it to where I am today, yet here I am. For generations, my people have tried finding ways out. My people have looked for opportunities that won’t come because the system isn’t built in way that gives them a fair shake. The freedoms that all people should be afforded just don’t exist for the people in my neighborhood right now. By the grace of God, I was blessed enough to receive chances and opportunities. I wasn’t supposed to make it. The system didn’t want this. The system labels me a monster and a failure. I’ll give them the monster, but I refuse to be a failure. I’m a beast. A beast who will do whatever it takes to be successful. A beast who’s destined for greatness. I’m not a failure now, nor will I ever be. Society fears me. Society fears for a young African American man gaining power; they don’t want that. It will happen, it’s only a matter of time; I’ll get there for sure. I’ve been through pain and struggle. I’ve fallen down and gotten up time and time again. I know I’m destined for greatness. I’m going to make it out and leave behind a legacy my family can be proud of. Y’all wanted to know who I am, well now you know. My name is Khasim Mu’min, and this is my story.


Note from Beat the Streets Philadelphia
Khasim’s story is an incredible one; but he’s not alone. With over 1,200 wrestlers actively in wrestling programs throughout Beat the Streets Philadelphia, there are countless kids who like Khasim, have the drive and just need the opportunity to be great. With the support of our incredibly generous donors, we have been able to ‘Alter Life’s Trajectory’ for thousands of boys and girls; but we can do more with your help. Whether it’s choosing to give through our donate now page or as a coach and/or mentor by contacting us at [email protected], the bottom line we can always use your help!

Coach Development – October 21st

On October 21st, Beat the Streets will be hosting a coach development meeting for all Beat the Streets coaches. Hosted by Pennsylvania Regional Training Center Head Coach, Brandon Slay, all who attend will have the opportunity to learn technique from a world-class coach, ask questions, and ultimately offer the best possible programming to your wrestlers! More information (i.e. time, location, etc) will be announced soon. If you want to receive updates about this event, fill out this form

In Their Shoes – Ron Palmer

My name is Ron Palmer. I am a 2016 graduate from Mariana Bracetti High School where I was a 4-year wrestler, 3-time Public League champion, 2-time District 12 champion, and MBA’s first 1st 2-time Academic All-American. Currently, I go to Kutztown University of Pennsylvania where I’m a member of the wrestling team and I’m majoring in Marketing.
Beat the Streets has contributed a lot to my success both on and off the mat. School wasn’t always my top-priority, but my mentors worked with me and taught me how important an education was. They taught me how to stay organized, helped me to develop good study habits, and showed me how to set personal goals. The lessons they taught me over the years are a big reason I was so successful in the classroom and I give those guys a lot of credit for helping me to become the student I am today. But my mentors didn’t just help me to become a better student, they helped me become a better man. Life-lessons about hard-work, dedication, and standing up for your beliefs were just a few of the deeper conversations I had with my mentors, and some of the things they taught me will stay with me forever. To put it simply, Beat the Streets gave me the tools and the opportunity to succeed; and that was all I ever needed!
 The things I learned from my wrestling career with Beat the Streets are things I want all the kids who come from my neighborhood to have. Laying the blueprints for other youth wrestlers so that they can follow in my footsteps is something that continues to motivated me as I continue to be involved with Beat the Streets. Although I’m nearly two and a half hours away during the school year, I still give back as much as possible while I’m in college. When I’m home, I head over to practice at MBA or PAL or stop by the Mentoring Center to see what the kids are up to. When I came through, there was no ‘wrestling culture’ in Philadelphia; but now, I’m a part of the culture that’s emerging. Because of my success on the mat and in the classroom, I know that I’m a role model to many of these younger kids and I don’t ever want to let them down. 
After graduation, I plan to stay hands-on as much as possible and show kids all that is possible with just a little confidence. Anything is possible with God by your side and the right support system in place. Beat the Streets gave me the support I needed to believe in myself, fight for what’s mine, and be successful. I’m not done though. I’m going to keep working, keep getting better, and continue to be someone the next generation of Beat the Streets wrestlers can be proud of!