Volunteer Highlight: Coach Stevan Jackson
This month, we recognize and honor Coach Steve Jackson, a veteran BGCTC volunteer and a tremendous influence on our north Minneapolis youth! By his reckoning, Coach Jackson has spent 33 years and over 35,000 hours coaching youth sports on the Northside. He started as a youth outreach worker at the Glenwood-Lyndale Community Center in north Minneapolis in the 1980s. Following the closure of the community center due to reconstruction of the surrounding neighborhoods, Coach Jackson reached out to the Jerry Gamble Club in 1995 and established the Lady Gambles, the Club’s first traveling girls basketball team.
Coach Jackson’s philosophy centers on using basketball and sports to teach youth how to manage negative thoughts and emotions, and redirecting them to create positive action. Every youth in his program learns about A.N.T.’s – Automatic Negative Thoughts – and how to shift them. Coach Jackson teaches his youth that although we can’t control what thoughts come into our heads, we can choose what thoughts we continue to think about – and we can choose to let go of the negative ones.
“I am trying to teach every youth that they have the ability to feel good as a human being,” Coach Jackson says. “I give them the tools to make it through the moment by being aware of their thoughts. I can’t tell you the number of youth who grow up and come back and thank me for teaching them about A.N.T.’s and how to manage mentally through life.”
Due to COVID-19 health concerns for himself and his wife, Coach Jackson retired from volunteer service at the end of 2020. We are so grateful to Coach Jackson for over 25 years of service to the Jerry Gamble Club and the Northside – his legacy will endure in generations of our Club youth for years to come!