The South Carolina Stingrays are proud to announce Jake Coleman as a finalist for the 2021-22 ECHL’s Community Service Award.
“With this being my first pro year, this is the first time I had a platform where I could impact my community and a younger generation of kids,” said Coleman. “Being able to have that opportunity, I tried to take full advantage of it. I went out and met tons of different people both in and out of hockey who were struggling with mental health issues or just in their day-to-day lives.”
Coleman, a graduate of Robert Morris University, logged over 35 hours mentoring underserved youth, working with behavioral kids, and spending time with patients at MUSC psychiatry. Coleman always chose to go above and beyond what is required to help bring community recognition to the Stingrays and the ECHL.
“It’s been special to see the relationships that Jake has fostered with patients at MUSC Psychiatry and our friends at Be A Mentor and The Beautiful Gate Center over the course of the season,” said Kimberly Runey, Director of Partner and Community Development. “Jake is always doing more than what is expected of him, and we appreciate him for showing firsthand that the Stingrays organization keeps community at the forefront of everything that we do.”
A psychology major at RMU, Coleman found his time with the psychiatry patients the most rewarding and intriguing. Coleman’s background in psychology allowed him to put his expertise to use and interact with the patients in a different way than most.
The first year Stingray also spent time with the Be A Mentor program, a local nonprofit whose mission is to enable youth to develop positive relationships with caring adults who empower them to reach their full potential. While with Be A Mentor, Coleman taught the kids hockey skills, played basketball, and even showed them his “magic trick” of taking his fake tooth out. The relationship he built shined through to those he worked with, reaching a point where the kids would ask for “Mr. Jake” daily.
Additionally, Coleman spent time at The Beautiful Gate Center, an organization that serves individuals with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders and works to help them with the skills and support they need to enhance their long-term quality of life.
“You idolize certain figures growing up, and you see how they impact kids, communities, and different demographics. To be in that situation and have that same impact that those people I idolized growing up had on me, it means the world. It is something I won’t forget the rest of my life.”
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