Back to School with Errol Jones, Coach for Kids Program Manager

Errol leads our Coach for Kids program in schools. He has been a crucial team member in the past 4 years, coaching students and providing professional development for teachers and coaches.

What brought you to Wellness in the Schools? 

I spent 22 years in the British Army, and then I moved to New York to follow my passion for working with young people. I was fortunate to join Wellness in the Schools four years ago. I started by working in Alternative Learning Centers, and then was put into schools as a WITS Coach. I really learned how to hone my craft, and luckily got promoted to Program Manager a couple of years ago. As Program Manager, I facilitate training and manage schools in New York City, and I pass on the lessons and experiences I’ve had to our coaches, teachers, and students. 

What are some top memories that stand out to you? 

Working alongside Adelphi University coaches has been incredible – the partnership Wellness in the Schools has with Adelphi is so strong. Our first cohort of coaches have all developed into great leaders themselves. For example, Jason Perez, one of our first Adelphi fellows, now works for DREAM Charter School (with which we have now developed a really unique partnership), and it’s been great to see his journey. He is now working with Adelphi first-year students, and he goes out and assesses them on the recess yard. It’s come full circle. 

What does the WITS Coach for Kids Program achieve during active recess?

We enable kids to exercise creativity, self-expression, inclusion, and we give them tools for healthy conflict resolution. 

You’ve seen the program grow exponentially over the last 4 years, especially the Coach side… 

Well, every year, this program grows into this bigger beast. There’s a lot of growth, and we are evolving and growing with the program. It’s important for us to focus on making sure our structure is strong, and just believing in the people we have working with us. We all have the same passion and dreams and goals, we just need to keep our focus on quality as we grow.

Kids’ favorite recess activity?

Definitely any variation of tag! We’re just trying to get them as active as possible, and wanting to make sure they have fun. 

Favorite part of the job?

Interacting with people within a school community.

How do donations support Coach for Kids programs?

School communities instantly see the value in our programs: coaches make connections at a personal level and students return to class ready to focus and learn. 

Donations allow more schools to start Coach for Kids programs, and on more days of the week. We include school aides in games which moves the school community towards the long-term sustainability of active recess. 

Hopes and dreams for the future of school fitness? 

A Summer Camp Program and After School Programs where we could better utilize our large pool of coaches and community fitness partners. Bigger picture – going even more national, so that we are in more schools and impacting more children across the country!