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but it wasn’t enough to fund staff, so they continued to rely upon volunteer energy from a number of individuals and organizations, such as the South County Youth Taskforce, the City of San Jose’s Mayor’s Gang Prevention Taskforce, and Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY). While Daughenbaugh was thrilled with the steadily growing league, it wasn’t until Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman got wind of the program about two and a half years ago that it became something much more. In July 2017, the board of supervisors voted unanimously to fund the program with a full-time position and a budget. Daughenbaugh was hired as the full-time coordinator of the program. She called it “everything I love about being a probation officer all wrapped into one.” Her work has long been a process of “holding people accountable but trying to forge relationships to motivate people to make better decisions.” And while sports may seem just about play, she insisted, “It’s not about basketball, it’s about life.” Most of the kids involved in the league don’t have this opportunity anywhere else. “They’re underserved and from at-risk single parent homes. These are not the kids that grew up playing T-ball or on a soccer team.” For many kids this is the first time they’ve ever been part of a team, and it imparts valuable lessons. “I see it in their faces when they get their first high five for their first shot. You watch these kids blossom.” Now that it’s fully funded, she hopes to be able to measure the impact she’s seen anecdotally on things such as school attendance and attitude. “I had a principal write to me and say that on Fridays, after their games, they walk around campus like they’re somebody. It’s confidence building.” Daughenbaugh herself works hard to instill commitment and appropriate conduct in the kids. “Each week, before every game, I tell them ‘What you’re really going to learn today is to have fun and maybe something about being a leader, or following a leader, or dealing with conflict.’” She reminds these kids that it’s not always going to go their way, but good sportsmanship is key. “I am amazed every week at how these kids behave and handle themselves, given their struggles and the brick walls they have in front of them.” Overall, the program is a dream come true for her. “I’m a probation officer who runs a sports league. None of that makes sense on paper, but luckily the people who matter get it.” “It’s not about basketball, it’s about life.” GET FIT TOGETHER! Experience the incredible energy that only Group Exercise classes can give you. FIND A CLASS TODAY Gilroy Wellness Studio 408 848 2712 Mt. Madonna YMCA – Gilroy Wellness Studio 1057 First Street, Gilroy, CA 95020 408 848 2712 • ymcasv.org/mtmadonna GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 gmhtoday.com 27