One Big Family

Polina had been the school’s principal and math teacher for forty years. She was known for her discipline; the kids feared her, as did the adults. She was an intimidating woman. She was also my “girlfriend”: Moya Padrooha.

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Kickstarter Launch - November 14th!

For the past ten years it’s been my mission to help kids succeed - it’s taken me from the baseball field to the Kindergarten classroom - from Portland, Maine to Ukraine - from Bowdoin College to Portland Public Schools. 

And this is what I’ve come to believe-

Schools should be at the centers of our communities- where kids develop strong relationships with caring adults; where their talents are discovered; and where they learn about the world around them!

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Playing Ball in the Peace Corps

I climbed the big concrete steps one after another, dripping sweat, unsure of what I’d find at the top. I’d been walking for a while and my mind was racing. It felt like the first day of school, like the first day of anything. It was a blazing hot day, but the heat was familiar. I had played ball many times in weather like this, especially in Iowa. But I was far from the cornfields of the Midwest now. I was in a place I’d never been before, a place I’d never dreamed I’d be. I was in Ukraine.

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Left, Right, Left, Right,...

The crowd of a few thousand erupt with cheer. I mutter to myself and begin the long walk back to the dugout. As I walk, they narrate my stride. Right, left, right, left! In sync with my every step. Finally, I reach the lip of the dugout after the longest thirty seconds of my life. And for their final, miserable act? I know what’s coming-, “Sit down!” they scream.

Striking out was never fun, but in Bluefield, West Virginia, it was a whole new level of humiliation.

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Coach G

I am nervous; palms sweaty, knees shaking, mouth dry. My nine year old mind is racing as I stand here, knees bent, in my blue and white Coastal Silkscreen uniform, stirrup socks, and plastic cleats. 

Here comes the pitch. I gulp and take a giant swing. I hit the ball, only by definition is it a hit, it is pathetic. My hands sting and I watch the ball slowly bounce in the pitcher’s direction. Disappointed, I slowly jog out of the batter’s box and mope down the line. 

The pitcher picks up the ball, but wait!  He fumbles it, and it falls back to the grass. I start sprinting. It’s going to be close. Again, he picks it up and then throws. “Out!” the umpire yells. It’s a bang-bang play. I could have been safe, I think as I jog back to the dugout. It’s the third out and my teammates hustle to their positions but coach stops me...

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