Dante Gutbrod ’23

Beat the Streets New England, Boston, MA

This summer I worked at Beat the Streets New England (BTSNE), a regional chapter of a nation-wide sports-based youth development nonprofit that provides a range of opportunities for young student athletes and supports them in reaching their full potential in all areas of their life. BTSNE offers mentorship, tutoring and training in the sport of wrestling while covering costs that would present a barrier to entry for these young people.

In my time with BTSNE, I wore many hats and carried several responsibilities. I worked closely with the organization’s CEO, Bior Guigni, in tasks such as accounting, formulating new programs and reviewing potential new hires as we planned for our expansion into several new cities. We analyzed the best ways to communicate our organization’s mission to stakeholders and potential donors, how to use our employees most effectively and how to organize and adapt our programs as we quickly expand in size and reach. Working so closely with the organization’s leadership gave me valuable insights on how to manage a nonprofit. I came to learn that skills in communicating and adapting to changing goals were very important.

In addition to working with Bior, a primary responsibility of mine was leading the development of an online course to train new BTSNE coaches on our core values, goals and strategies for working with kids. The course covered a range of topics, including communication techniques, fitness and nutrition guidance, and wrestling skills—complete with videos, readings and quizzes—so that new Coaches-In-Training (CIT’s), many of whom were older high school students, could effectively navigate the world of coaching for the first time. This project was very important to me, as it called upon many skills and teaching practices that I had developed over the years in my time as a lifelong athlete, a third-generation coach and a student of philosophy. It was also the first time that BTSNE had a formalized, detailed product that outlined our core program. In this way, it also serves as a great tool to attract potential donors, now that they can clearly see the work that we are doing.

I also had the opportunity to attend the National Wrestling Coaches Association Convention in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., which was an amazing experience to connect and build relationships with the Beat the Streets community and the wrestling world as a whole. It was enlightening to learn how different the experiences were in different cities due to the socioeconomic and educational disparities across different areas in the country. Hearing the many regional BTS leaders share their stories gave me a new perspective on coaching and mentoring and aided me as I developed the online course for new coaching.

I am so grateful to have had these experiences, and I sincerely thank the Kraft Family for making it all possible. I developed so many valuable skills, and even more valuable friendships, and I am excited to see what opportunities this experience will open up for me in the future.