Draft! tooo corny?>

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pecchiord1
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:55 am

Draft! tooo corny?>

Postby pecchiord1 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:01 pm

Second Draft! Any feedback would be great! I have labeled my organization as XXX for privacy reasons. Thanks!

Look both ways before you cross the street. Don’t take rides from strangers. And whatever you do, do not linger on Kinsman Avenue after sundown. These three warnings constitute the code of conduct instilled in every child raised in inner city Cleveland, Ohio.
A product of the suburbs, I only first learned of Kinsman Avenue when I began coaching youth basketball. Every weekend, it seemed, one of my players came to a practice or a game mourning the loss of a friend or family member victimized by late night activities on Kinsman. Due to these stories, I learned to navigate around Kinsman when I drove through the city to drop off the members of my team whose families were without access to transportation. My players would always chide me about this cautionary path, saying I drove like “a senior citizen”. I maintained my route, however, keeping away from Kinsman by any means necessary.
I loved being a coach. Ever since my first sports philanthropy trip to the Dominican Republic, I had dreamed of using sports to help people. After completing college, the opportunity to accomplish this dream finally presented itself in the form of starting my own charitable non-profit, XXX Sports, an organization that uses athletics to counteract youth violence and promote educational success to young people. For the most part, directing XXX Sports seemed to be the logical result of my educational and professional background. My experiences in the Dominican Republic enabled me to extend my programming internationally and bilingually. Time spent as a mentor for a troubled young man in my area had sensitized me to the issues confronting youth. As a Legal Studies minor in college, I had always felt destine to pursue a legal education at some point in my life, but at that time I was very content with my position on the vocational timeline. With the initial success of my program, law school seemed like a venture intended for some time in the distant future.
Just as I was settling into this lifestyle, however, my organization received a request to conduct a weeklong basketball camp at the local Juvenile Justice Center for 21 young boys. Our camps usually consisted of hour-long sessions of basketball instruction followed by leadership and life skills workshops hosted by our camp staff. I have always considered myself a “cool” academic, able to present research to senior-level officials of an organization and later play in a basketball game with members of the maintenance staff. As I walked into the JJC classroom, however, and saw those 21 young men in blue prison uniforms, I knew that no amount of social intelligence would make reaching these boys an easy task.
My first interaction with the inmates was awkward and uncomfortable. I had difficulty finding the right words to say, unsure of how exactly to communicate with people in their situation. Once the first basketball session began, however, I realized that these young men were just like any of the other many campers that had attended one of our sessions. They had just made some poor choices in their lives that had led them into those blue uniforms.
On the final day of the program, I sat down across the lunch table from Woody, a boy of 16 who had served most of his youth in detention. That day’s topic was achieving one’s potential, so I asked Woody what he wanted to do when he “grew up”. Woody sat silent for a second and returned the question to me. I responded that I was currently doing it. I will always remember Woody’s next words: “I appreciate what you guys are doing, coming here and showing us you care. But, I have an appointment with the Judge tomorrow, and basketball skills won’t help me in the courtroom.” Woody’s words repeating in my head that entire day. Later, as I left the detention complex, I noticed, for the first time, the number of young men, fully shackled, being led down the hallway accompanied by a man or woman in a suit, whom I assumed were their attorneys.
Looking back on my career path up to this point, I cannot help but draw a parallel to those long drives home to avoid Kinsman Avenue. Founding XXX Sports was a great achievement, made possible by my previously mentioned background and skills. But without a legal education, I am not only limited in scope for what I can do for programs like XXX Sports, but I am limited in ability for how I can help participants in these programs. Directing XXX Sports kept me safe and garnered me praise from parents and students, in a similar fashion to the way I was praised by my players’ parents for avoiding Kinsman while bringing their children home. Woody’s words, however, reminded me that there are people who cannot avoid Kinsman, held prisoner by their situation or their poor decisions.
For this reason, I have decided that law school is the next necessary step in my career path. My experiences at the Juvenile Justice Center have given me that sense of urgency I had been lacking before XXX Sports. I have those experiences and the words of wise young man named Woody to thank for leading me to this application, taking that first step out of the car, ready to help whoever finds himself stranded on Kinsman Avenue.

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Draft! tooo corny?>

Postby fruitoftheloom » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:20 pm

pecchiord1 wrote:Second Draft! Any feedback would be great! I have labeled my organization as XXX for privacy reasons. Thanks!

Look both ways before you cross the street. Don’t take rides from strangers. And whatever you do, do not linger on Kinsman Avenue after sundown. These three warnings constitute the code of conduct instilled in every child raised in inner city Cleveland, Ohio.
A product of the suburbs, I only first learned of Kinsman Avenue when I began coaching youth basketball. Every weekend, it seemed, one of my players came to a practice or a game mourning the loss of a friend or family member victimized by late night activities on Kinsman. Due to these stories, I learned to navigate around Kinsman when I drove through the city to drop off the members of my team whose families were without access to transportation. My players would always chide me about this cautionary path, saying I drove like “a senior citizen”. I maintained my route, however, keeping away from Kinsman by any means necessary.

I like this, but I would combine it into one paragraph. I think that you can retool the information about driving, it just sounds choppy - "Part of the life of an inner-city basketball coach involves chauffeuring players home because their families lack access to transportation. During my nightly (weekly?) route, the players/kids/youth would often heckle me for my "senior" attitude because I steadfastly avoided Kinsman, even when it meant adding miles to the route." (IDK, throwing that out there)

I loved being a coach. Ever since my first sports philanthropy trip to the Dominican Republic, I had dreamed dreamt of using sports to help people. After completing college, the opportunity to accomplish this dream finally presented itself in the form of starting my own charitable non-profit, XXX Sports, an organization that uses athletics to counteract youth violence and promote educational success to young people. For the most part, directing XXX Sports seemed to be the logical result of my educational and professional background. My experiences in the Dominican Republic enabled me to extend my programming internationally and bilingually. Time spent as a mentor for a troubled young man in my area had sensitized me to the issues confronting youth. As a Legal Studies minor in college, I had always felt destine to pursue a legal education at some point in my life, but at that time I was very content with my position on the vocational timeline. With the initial success of my program, law school seemed like a venture intended for some time in the distant future.

Some tips for this - first, the last two sentences aren't necessary. You address below your interest for law school, you're minimizing your coaching experience by mentioning it here.
A couple of other tips - I wouldn't say directing is the "logical result" because then it seems liek you "fell into" directing instead of purshing it. Secondly - you don't address how your program extended internationally - are you directing a program in Ohio & the DR? If so put that in there. Finally "Time spent as a mentor for a troubled young man in my area had sensitized me to the issues confronting youth" - expand on this. Like, a lot. You're doing too much "telling" here and not enough "showing". I want to get to know you more - what have you learned, what do you do, why does this experience matter?

Just as I was settling into this lifestyle, however, my organization received a request to conduct a week-long basketball camp at the local Juvenile Justice Center for 21 young boys. Our camps usually consisted typically consist of. Why is this past tense? of hour-long sessions of basketball instruction followed by leadership and life skills workshops hosted by our camp staff. I have always considered myself a “cool” academic, able to present research to senior-level officials of an organization and later play in a basketball game with members of the maintenance staff. As I walked into the JJC classroom, however, and saw those 21 young men in blue prison uniforms, I knew that no amount of social intelligence would make reaching these boys an easy task.

The sentence I struck out makes you seem like a cliche. "no amount of social intelligence"? I would just say you realize it won't be easy. And I would combine this with the paragraph below. Honestly, I would combine this paragraph with the next one and condense it into two sentences. "I received a request to conduct a week long basketball camp at the local Juvenile Justice Center. With trepidation, I agreed."

My first interaction with the inmates was awkward and uncomfortable. I had difficulty finding the right words to say, unsure of how exactly to communicate with people in their situation. Once the first basketball session began, however, I realized that these young men were just like any of the other many campers that had attended one of our sessions. They had just made some poor choices in their lives that had led them into those blue uniforms.

This is pretty good. It would be better if you talk about relaxing and talking to them - give the reader a sense of what your interaction with these kids was like.

On the final day of the program, I sat down across the lunch table from Woody, a boy of 16 who had served most of his youth in detention. That day’s topic was achieving one’s potential, so I asked Woody what he wanted to do when he “grew up”. Woody sat silent for a second and returned the question to me. I responded that I was currently doing it. I will always remember Woody’s next words: “I appreciate what you guys are doing, coming here and showing us you care. But, I have an appointment with the Judge tomorrow, and basketball skills won’t help me in the courtroom.” Woody’s words repeating in my head that entire day. Later, as I left the detention complex, I noticed, for the first time, the number of young men, fully shackled, being led down the hallway accompanied by a man or woman in a suit, whom I assumed were their attorneys.

Get rid of the accompanied by a suit part. It's unnecessary. You can shore this story up sooo much. Surely you learned something else from the kids at the jail? Or surely you influenced at least one of them positively? I feel like this paragraph wants to go somewhere, but it's maybe 1/4 of the way there.


Looking back on my career path up to this point, I cannot help but draw a parallel to those long drives home to avoid Kinsman Avenue. Founding XXX Sports was a great achievement, made possible by my previously mentioned background and skills. But without a legal education, I am not only limited in scope for what I can do for programs like XXX Sports, but I am limited in ability for how I can help participants in these programs. Directing XXX Sports kept me safe and garnered me praise from parents and students, in a similar fashion to the way I was praised by my players’ parents for avoiding Kinsman while bringing their children home. Woody’s words, however, reminded me that there are people who cannot avoid Kinsman, held prisoner by their situation or their poor decisions.
For this reason, I have decided that law school is the next necessary step in my career path. My experiences at the Juvenile Justice Center have given me that sense of urgency I had been lacking before XXX Sports. I have those experiences and the words of wise young man named Woody to thank for leading me to this application, taking that first step out of the car, ready to help whoever finds himself stranded on Kinsman Avenue.

Directing XX sports kept you safe.. that sentence doesn't make a lot of sense.. a) safe from what? You're from the 'burbs, I don't see how directing XXX sports keeps you 'safe'. Also "similar fashion to the way you were praised by parents for avoiding kinsman".. what? Also, that doesn't seem hard.

Overall - I think your statement can use some work, but it has some things you can use. Honestly, I would try to find one student that impacted you with the basketball program and one who affected you with the Juvenile Justice program and talk about how they both influenced you. I also don't think talking about how you're ready to help people stranded on Kinsman is super logical. You're an attorney, not an ER doctor.

Good luck.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: Draft! tooo corny?>

Postby thelawschoolproject » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:22 pm

Hm...

So, I actually like this PS quite a bit. I like how you use Kinsman Avenue, although the second to last paragraph could use some work. I feel like the analogy that you make between the kids in the jail and your relationship to Kinsman Avenue is, at first, very loose and not as well-developed as it could be. By the end, it's easy to see what you're doing, but the path to getting there is weak. So, if you're looking for a place to direct improvement, that'd be it.

The only other comment I can really make is that using the kid's words as this lightening bolt that struck your mind and told you to do more seems a little contrived. I might re-word it since you want the real motivation to pursue a legal education to come from within you.

But with that said, I think your PS is one of the stronger ones I've read this cycle.

Good luck!

pecchiord1
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Draft! tooo corny?>

Postby pecchiord1 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:12 pm

Ok! Thanks guys...i think i know how i need to reshape this...great points!

pecchiord1
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:55 am

Reshaped...any thoughts would be great!

Postby pecchiord1 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:29 pm

Raised in the suburbs, I had only first heard of Kinsman Avenue when I began coaching youth basketball in inner city Cleveland. By appearance, it contained nothing to differentiate it from any other road on the eastside of town. Yet every weekend, stories about late night activities on Kinsman would pervade our team’s huddles, oftentimes concluding with the death of a friend or family member.

Coaching young men quickly opened my eyes to the power of attraction the most dangerous places had on the area’s young people. In the summer time, most of the players on my team found themselves unsupervised at home while their parents worked multiple jobs. Left to only the influence of their peers, these young people lacked an understanding of the value of avoiding such places and engaging in other positive activities instead.

I had begun coaching when I moved back to my hometown after graduating college. At the time, I was also mentoring a high school student named Marc who was struggling academically. Admittedly, I was not the best mentor for this young man at first. Kindergarten through college of private schooling had impressed the value of success on me to a point where I found it difficult to relate to a young person who lacked that same ambition. I spent the majority of our initial sessions applying various motivational tactics, all of which failed to inspire Marc to complete his homework for the next session. The turning point came, however, when I received a text message from Marc’s mother informing me that if he did not improve his grades, he would not be able to try out for the football team that year. His mother worried that without football, Marc would become another young person ensnared by activities on Kinsman Avenue.

By that time, I had gotten to know Marc and his family very well. I was determined to help him escape the fate that captured many of his peers. This determination motivated me to form XXX Sports, a leadership organization that I designed to counteract youth violence and promote academic success in our area. As my ideas started to form, I employed Marc to help me create the program’s curriculum, a task which inspired him to criticize the technicality of my written words, even though just months prior he had been failing freshman English.

There would be no starting XXX Sports without financial support, however, leading me to much dreaded request for proposal presentations to private donors and youth programs in the area. As a literature student in college, I had never felt comfortable discussing financial matters with knowledgeable professionals. My desperate state taught me to conquer these insecurities and present my ideas with emotion and credibility, leading XXX Sports to gain the support of much respected youth programs in the area, including: Boys and Girls Club of America, the Hispanic-American society, and the local public housing authority. We even received a request from the local Juvenile Justice Center for one of our weeklong basketball camps, which I accepted with trepidation.

XXX Sports managed to conduct eight of our Next Level Up clinics last year, a program that consists of rotating sessions of basketball instruction and life skills workshops. With the continuing success of these programs, our confidence grew as an organization. The summer was winding down, and soon, our target audience would be going back to school. We only had one program left to perform, the JJC. Before I knew it, I found myself stepping into a room of 21 young boys dressed in all blue prison uniforms. Even with our prior success, I knew that reaching these boys was going to be no easy task. My first interaction with the inmates was awkward and uncomfortable. I stumbled through the introductory presentation, unsure of how exactly to communicate with people in their situation. Once the first basketball session, began, however, I realized that these young men were just like any of the other campers that had attended one of our sessions. They had just made some poor choices in their lives that had led them into those blue uniforms.

Working with the boys from JJC ended up being not only my favorite session but a life changing opportunity. Our program brought forth optimism in those young men that made an indelible impression on me. On the last day of our program, our camp staff stood in a row and shook the hands of each of the young men as they filed out of the classroom. Many of them, no longer nameless and unapproachable, followed their handshakes with reassuring guarantees that “Coach, once I get out—I’m never coming back.”

I left the complex that day, holding back the frustration I felt because there was no more that I could do for these young men. Providing them with a week of inspiration was a virtuous service, but in a day or two, many of those boys would walk into the courtroom, a judge and an attorney playing a much bigger role in deciding their future. Without a legal education, I am limited in power for what I can do for organizations like the one I formed as well as the participants in these programs. My experiences with XXX Sports have given me the gift of urgency to start my legal education because, as I have learned, every city has its own Kinsman Avenue.
Last edited by pecchiord1 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ChikaBoom
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Re: Draft! tooo corny?>

Postby ChikaBoom » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:45 pm

You are losing it at the last sentence on both. This is not a cute essay, this is serious. You try to describe how tough Kinsman is and then you link it with sesame street? Really?

I liked the descriptions in the first one better, but overall I think the second essay is more sound. This is one of the stronger essays I've read on here.

pecchiord1
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Draft! tooo corny?>

Postby pecchiord1 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:16 pm

hahaha thanks...ya i gotchu. you're right I dunno i was trying something different. Thanks for reading.

pecchiord1
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:55 am

Re: Draft! tooo corny?>

Postby pecchiord1 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:21 pm

ChikaBoom wrote:You are losing it at the last sentence on both. This is not a cute essay, this is serious. You try to describe how tough Kinsman is and then you link it with sesame street? Really?

I liked the descriptions in the first one better, but overall I think the second essay is more sound. This is one of the stronger essays I've read on here.

thanks for reading




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