By Keith King
In sports, we often see an abundance of athletes that find their way into the media spotlight without the proper guidance on how to carry themselves. Many don’t have a chance to allow the public to know who they really are. Instead, the “he/she has character issues” tag is often associated with a lot of players before they even make it to college. Reed Dudley is on a mission to help change this and give young athletes a platform to not only express themselves, but also help them to become comfortable in front of the camera, and letting the audience get to know who they really are.
The Youth Sports Center is a San Diego based non-profit organization that is focuses on empowering youth integrity through positive athletic programs, while showcasing youth talent in a multimedia outlet.
“I actually came up with this idea when I was 11-years old,” said Dudley. “I was at a tough point in my life, One day I found myself sitting at the beach reflecting, and at that moment, I decided to just give it all to God and chase my dreams. I felt that this was something that the community was lacking, and I promised that one day I would come back and provide this for the youth.”
Dudley also explained his reasoning for feeling that it is important to allow these young athletes to be on camera.
“I’m putting the camera on kids at an early age to show who they really are. Sometimes the media can do kids a disservice by painting a picture of the kids that isn’t always accurate. I’m just giving them their own platform to express themselves, while being able to showcase their talents.”
Since the Youth Sports Center started 5 years ago, they have received videos of youth from not just America, but other continents such as China, Africa, and Europe. Outside of the platform they are providing for the youth, you can also go and see interviews with current NFL players such as Cam Newton, and Tyrann Mathieu, as well as rap superstar and youth coach Snoop Dogg.
With the increasing reach of his organization, there have been many memorable moments with these talented youth.
“There was a high school kid that wasn’t supposed to play, he ended up getting in the game due to injury. That night he had a career game and I caught up to him to interview him, and he just burst out crying because he was so happy for his opportunity and the attention that he was getting after the game.”
Hearing about moments like that gives a better understanding of what an organization like this can mean for a child’s confidence on and off the field, and the opportunities that it can provide.
Before our interview concluded, I asked Dudley where he gets his motivation from.
“I wake up every day grounded knowing that if I was to die, I died doing what God wanted me to do. I’m motivated by knowing that these kids can use me as an avenue to get exposure and go on to a major college.”
To see videos, find youth news, and contact information, you can find YSC on their Facebook page “The Youth Sports Center”.