My first job ever was working for my city’s Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs. I was an employee for three years before departing to FL for college. I was a recreation aide, meaning my role was to supervise the kids at Oval Park, located on my block. The main objective was to make sure the kids were engaged in activities that were beneficial to them; particularly so they wouldn’t get distracted or even more influenced by all of the nonsense that took place at the park. I played board games with them, did arts & crafts, tag; whatever kept them busy. When I wasn’t doing that, I was the statistician for the summer league basketball games, and I also coached soccer for our park’s rec team. The latter was the highlight, obviously. I was able to teach my kids the fundamentals of the game I love. Seeing how happy they were and hearing them brag to their parents about “Coach Stef” was so fulfilling. That experience was defining for me, because I was able to positively impact the lives of those kids and impart in them the lessons, advice and knowledge I had gained up until that point. I left knowing that in a city filled with corruption, crazy budget cuts and people in places of power that weren’t actually advocating for their behalf, that they had found a mentor and confidante in me. Pictured here, is one of those kids. When we first started shooting, Jaquan came to the park and much to my surprise, he remembered me. At 16, he is just as sweet as he was when I first met him at age 8. He asked to shoot with us and of course we said yes! #189Series

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