18 episodes

Bringing you inspirational stories from the Beat the Streets Philadelphia community!

Beat the Streets Philadelphia Podcast BTS Philly

    • Sports
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

Bringing you inspirational stories from the Beat the Streets Philadelphia community!

    Kaya Sement: BTSP Coach & Lead Mentor

    Kaya Sement: BTSP Coach & Lead Mentor

    In this podcast episode, we get to speak with Kaya Sement, a Lead Mentor at BTS Philly. Kaya is a sophomore on the University of Pennsylvania wrestling team and brings tons of experience into the BTS room.

    Kaya first became involved in Beat the Streets as the Lifting Coach for the student-athletes. He soon realized that being a coach meant more than just teaching the student-athletes technique.

    "One day, one of the kids came up to me and said, 'Can I ask you some advice?' And I was like, 'Yeah, definitely.' And we ended up talking for 15 minutes."

    But it didn't end there.

    "There was another kid standing behind him, watching over the conversation. And when our conversation wrapped up, he came over and he's like, 'Wait, you're giving out advice? Can I ask you another question?' I was like, 'Yes, of course, I'm not just your lifting coach. I'm here for you guys.' And we ended up talking again for 15 minutes. And just seeing how appreciative they were. And I feel like you can't even put words into the face that he made. I thought about that a lot after that."

    When sidelined from wrestling with an injury that spring, Kaya thought about these experiences and decided to take his involvement with Beat the Streets to the next level. He became a Lead Mentor, which allowed him to have an even more significant impact on the student-athletes.

    Beat the Streets Philly Executive Director James Mangan added, "He committed to be a coach and a mentor this past year and our kids really respected him and looked up to him and confided in him."

    For Kaya, though, working with the BTS athletes came naturally.
    "The first thing I noticed was like, I don't have to be a motivator there. Those kids are very self driven. They want to be there. Their parents aren't making them. Nobody's forcing them to be there. They're self motivating. So they're honestly some of the easiest kids to coach because you put up the program, give them some tips, and they work hard. So that's definitely what I love."

    • 50 min
    Jordan Burroughs: BTS Mentor and World Class Athlete

    Jordan Burroughs: BTS Mentor and World Class Athlete

    In this episode of the podcast we are blessed to speak with Olympic and World Champion, Jordan Burroughs. Since moving to Philadelphia, Jordan has been instrumental in helping out around the BTS mentoring center and has been an excellent role model for our BTS youth. He brings years of experience at the highest levels of wrestling and inspires so many in our community. Jordan shares his motivations and impact with us on the show today, along with some amazing advice to wrestling parents. We are so grateful to have someone like Jordan in the BTS family!

    • 44 min
    Lender Vega: Wrestling Coordinator and BTS Alum

    Lender Vega: Wrestling Coordinator and BTS Alum

    In this episode of the podcast, we have the chance to speak with Lender Vega, who works full-time at BTS Philly as the Wrestling Coordinator. Lender has a rich history with the Beat the Streets program.
    While we often talk about the intersection of academics and athletics, Lender’s story has an unusual twist. During a freshman year seminar, his teacher offered the students five extra points if they participated in a sport. Lender jumped at the opportunity and joined the wrestling team. Despite a rocky start, Lender fell in love with the sport and continued improving.
    Lender’s life journey has been defined by his resilience. He moved to the US from the Dominican Republic when he was just 11 years old, and at the time he didn’t know English. But Lender committed himself to school and began to excel in the classroom. “My dad from day one said: don't get in trouble and keep your grades up.”
    As Lender advanced on the wrestling mat, he began thinking about wrestling in college. Unlike today, Beat the Streets didn’t have a formalized mentoring program at the time. So former Executive Director Chris Hanlon walked him through the college admission process and took him on school visits.
    In the podcast, Executive Director James Mangan points out, “In a lot of ways, this was a pilot phase of the mentoring program. Beat the Streets was well-equipped to address the needs from a wrestling perspective, but it was always in the plan to figure out how to also serve academically. And you were early in that phase of discovery.”
    Lender finally settled on a Junior College in New Jersey, but his challenges didn’t stop there. Lender found that his public school education didn’t prepare him for the rigors of college, and despite his best effort, he failed out of school.
    It was at this tough time that Chris Hanlon reached out. “Hanlon just said, ‘Hey, stick around us and we'll see where you're where you'll land.’” He brought Lender on as a coach for Beat the Street youth. But Lender’s story doesn’t stop there. After a year of coaching, he decided to go back to school. 
     Lender eventually graduated from East Stroudsburg University, becoming the first college graduate in his family. And now as the Wrestling Coordinator at Beat the Streets he is doing amazing work and serving the community that he comes from. We are grateful to have Lender in the Beat the Streets family!

    • 56 min
    Evan Barczak: Lead Mentor and Drexel Wrestler

    Evan Barczak: Lead Mentor and Drexel Wrestler

    In this episode of the podcast, we get the chance to speak with Evan Barczak, a Drexel University wrestler who has been an instrumental member of the Beat the Streets Philadelphia community for the past four years. According to Executive Director James Mangan, “His role as a lead mentor really helped shape a lot of this programming over the last couple of years.”
    As a freshman at Drexel, Evan heard about the program from an older teammate and showed up to a pizza party event. He was immediately inspired by the student-athletes he met there. “The kids were just so excited about wrestling. They just wanted to talk about the World Championships or what was going on in college wrestling. And I was like, ‘Oh, this is awesome!’”
    “And then just talking to the kids and hearing their stories and what they've gone through. And I was just like, ‘Man, I want to be a part of this.’”
    Evan hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since then. Despite a full slate of college courses and a Division I wrestling schedule, he managed to prioritize spending time at the mentoring center.
    “If something's really important to you, you'll make time for it in the day. And this is something that's important to me. I want to get back to these kids and be there for them.”
    Despite his rigorous schedule, Evan continues to draw motivation from the kids themselves. “Some of them had very hard lives,” he says. “And overcome very hard things , but they're just always in a great mood. They're super excited. I can't be upset. I can never complain about having a bad day.”
    Evan graduated from Drexel in 2021 and is continuing his education to pursue an MBA. Here at Beat the Streets we are beyond excited that Evan will be with us one more term as a lead mentor.
    “It's really nice to know that he's going to be around a little bit longer,” said James Mangan.

    • 43 min
    CJ Composto: NCAA All-American and Mentor

    CJ Composto: NCAA All-American and Mentor

    In this episode, we speak with UPenn wrestler CJ Composto who achieved All-American status this March at the NCAA tournament. CJ is a regular at the mentoring center and speaks about how serving others lifts yourself up. It's impressive that he is able to balance Division 1 athletics and Ivy League Academics, while still finding time to help the student-athletes at Beat the Streets! 

    • 37 min
    Regina Johnson: Parent and Administrator

    Regina Johnson: Parent and Administrator

    In this episode of the podcast we get the chance to speak with Regina Johnson who is not only a BTS parent, but she serves as the Athletic Director at Matin Luther King High School which is a BTS partner. Regina brings a fresh new perspective to the podcast and so many lessons from the BTS community. She has been an invaluable partner and we are so grateful for everything she does to serve the student-athletes of Philadelphia!

    • 47 min

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