Brahaan Singh is a third-year psychology major who grew up not far from Case Western Reserve University in nearby Cleveland Heights. Last summer, he decided to work as a counselor for the National Youth Sports Program summer camp at Case Western Reserve. He enjoyed the experience so much that he’ll be working at the camp again this summer. Read more about Brahaan Singh.
How did you become involved with NYSP?
Last year when I was a sophomore, it was getting closer to summer and I had no plans. My advisor had sent a list of options of opportunities for the summer. I went down the list and saw NYSP. I’ve never been a counselor before and I hadn’t worked with kids in that way, but I watched some of the videos online and learned more about it and thought that it looked interesting.
What was your experience like last summer?
It was a lot of fun. At first, I was really nervous because it’s not like I’m a professional athlete when it comes to the sports, but then I realized that the kids just want to have fun. They’re always shouting and screaming and laughing—it was a lot of fun.
How did you feel at the end of each day?
I was totally drained. I took a huge nap after the day was over.
What was it that made you want to return to NYSP this summer?
I didn’t realize how much of a connection that I would have with some of the kids, but with some of them, I really developed a bond. I would find myself wondering every now and then about how they were doing. This is the most fun I’ve had with a job and I’m really excited to go back.
Were there times when you had to help a child who was struggling?
One time, there was a kid who was having a hard time bumping a ball back to me during a race. There was a line of kids behind him screaming and he ran out of the gym crying. So I ran out after him and tried to calm him down. I had to let him have his moment and just let everything out, but then I told him that it’s ok to mess up and that this is normal. I told him that no one’s perfect and that what matters is that you try. I had to try to put myself in his shoes and be a kid again. He listened and was able to go back in, so that felt good.
During the school year, what else are you involved in?
I’m involved in club soccer and this semester, I had a research fellowship through the Schubert Center.My mentor is Dr. Faye Gary and my research was focused around the Provost Scholars.
What do you want to do after you graduate?
Before last year, I was looking at premed or nutrition, but after working at NYSP last summer, I switched to psychology. This experience helped me to consider working with kids. So this semester, I took a therapy class. After graduation, I’m thinking about becoming a psychology or a school counselor.
What’s been your takeaway after working with NYSP?
It’s given me the chance to go beyond the Case bubble and connect with youth. NYSP is considered a sports program, but it’s so much bigger than that. It exposes kids from underserved families to college and other opportunities. So I feel like I’m having an impact on some of these kids—and in that way, it’s been fulfilling.