By Jalisa Bannerman
Toya Williams has quickly established an outstanding rapport as a volunteer within her first year with the Detroit City Lions. Fueled by wanting to ensure her son sees how fully invested she is in his interests, Toya’s help goes beyond the organization’s signup sheet. She supports her son’s aspirations by selflessly serving the space he is cultivated as a student-athlete.
Assisting where needed each game day, Toya has experience with the concessions, the sidelines, passing out uniforms, and serving her homemade spaghetti. As a 9u parent, her role comes with so much flexibility and readiness to fit dire needs. She does it all. When asked which of her greatest strengths is used to navigate as a volunteer, Toya quickly stated, “My greatest strength is my punctuality. I have always been punctual, and I use that when volunteering.” Toya’s reliability is demonstrated through her enormous time commitment during weekly practices and game day.
Kala Miller, the football program manager for the Detroit City Lions, shared, “I nominated Ms. Williams because of her endless support for the org. Whenever we’re short-staffed, she always steps up without hesitation, and not only does she help with our concessions, but she also helps her son’s team out a lot.”
The Detroit City Lions is not only a new home for Toya and her son, but its friendly atmosphere gives an impression of a genuine family. “We are all like aunties, uncles, and cousins. That’s just how we all get along.” Joining the organization has given Toya a sense of comfort and assurance. As a parent who understands the seriousness of academics, Toya has noticed specific standards upheld to push the boundary of children being more than just athletes. “I work in the school system and see firsthand students’ underperformance.” Recognizing the need for restrictions that will drive academics before athleticism is something Toya and the Detroit City Lions are passionate about tackling.
Offering at-risk boys and girls a doorway to sports programs and academic services is a mission that the Detroit City Lions embodies.
Sound Mind Sound Body Youth League has over 1,100 volunteers who spend approximately 300 hours per year annually giving back to Metro Detroit youth. Sound Mind Sound Body’s after school program is composed of a unique curriculum that combines life skills, athleticism, and academics.