Bowie Coaches Helping Students Turn Things Around

For athletes,  there are plenty of penalties or fouls they could commit in a game.  But often it's off the field where students don't play by the rules.  After learning about some problems where students broke the athletic policy at Bowie High School, the coaches decided to intervene in a positive way.

"'Coaches Cares' is a program to help kids that have made poor decisions that have a place to continue to remind them of those poor decisions so they won't go back to those," said Athletic Director Josh Castles.

Coaches Care offers a support group for kids so they can talk about issues with peers and role models.  Everything discussed is kept confidential.  It's mandatory for athletes in trouble, but anyone can take part.

"Of course it's open to any student who feels like they need help or wants to cry for help but doesn't have anybody to talk to about it,"  Castles said.

Right now there are anywhere from eight to 12 students that come to the weekly, after-school meetings.  While Castles will help anyone who needs help, he doesn't want to see the numbers grow in the program; he says that would work against the objective, but he does feel like it's been successful.

"I've gotten to see some attitude changes.  It's been goin;' for about three months now, and these people that are, have not relapsed, which is obviously one of the main goals for the program," Castles said.

Each meeting varies in length, but Coach Castles will stay as long as it takes to keep students from reverting back to their old ways.

"If you get in trouble, you get punished, and then that's it, so the chance of goin' back to those things that got you in trouble increases.  So unless you keep talkin' about it or keep addressing it, makin' sure you don't go back to it, you usually do," Castles said.

Coaches Cares is also open to help from other adults and role models.  Castles says anyone who wants to come talk to the kids or give them suggestions can take part in the program.