Monday, August 30, 2010

From a volunteer's perspective

The following post is from Mike Ervin, a coach for our Mini-Mites team of beginning hockey players. I love how honest Mike is about his experience as a person who has not grown up in an urban setting. I also love how he speaks of the new experience of walking alongside. It is also interesting to note that Mike talks (like many volunteers have over the years) not so much about how the kids have been changed by him, but rather how they have changed him.

“Hockey is a sport for rich white kids, and poor city kids and minorities just don’t play.”

That is that stereotype that I have lived with for my entire life, and I suspect that it is a stereotype that others who come from the suburbs hold. Working with Dinomights this year helped me break that stereotype for good and it is helping to break that stereotype for others as well. Dinomights brings a diverse group of kids together to discover and share a common love of hockey. And it turns out that kids who you wouldn’t associate with hockey have a great deal of talent.

After growing up in Bloomington and going to Jefferson High School (capitol of high school hockey in MN!), I came to the city with a full set of biases about what city kids are like and about who belongs on an ice rink. But getting to know and love the kids that I worked with at Dinomights helped to break down some of the stereotypes that were bred from ignorance in my upbringing.

You frequently hear the phrase, “don’t judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” This year, I had the chance to skate a mile alongside of the kids of South Minneapolis, who break all of the stereotypes that I carried with me from the suburbs into the city. They were both talented at hockey, and also responsive and respectful to coaches. They will be good ambassadors to the game and positive influences on their communities!

God is moving in the city, and He is using Dinomights to connect himself to the kids of Minneapolis and work to break down the stereotypes and prejudices that people from the suburbs may hold about who plays hockey. I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with Dinomights this year, and I’m lucky to have gained some exposure (through UrbanHomeworks) to the kinds of organizations that are working for the Lord in Minneapolis to protect, develop, and enrich at-risk communities.

DinoMights is currently seeking new volunteers. If you have been inspired by Mike's story, or you are just generally interested in volunteering for DinoMights visit

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