What is the meaning behind the PlayFor8 Mentoring Program?
On February 14th, 2018, a horrible tragedy occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 17 Lives were taken, one being Parkland Soccer Club’s team captain #8, Alyssa Alhadeff. Now, as the years continue to pass, I believe it is important to move to conserving Alyssa’s legacy. Alyssa was a caring, strong person whose leadership abilities led her team to many victories and allowed them to push through many challenges. Living like Alyssa means being a strong, kind, and empowering individual, and the Playfor8 mentoring program strives to teach girls how to continue this legacy. Younger girls are paired with girls that are older, creating a “big and little” mentorship program. This powerful movement will create strong bonds between girls that will last a lifetime. By creating bonds that teach what it means to live like 8, we can continue Alyssa’s legacy of the great leader and person she was.
What is it?
The Playfor8 Mentoring Program strives to teach girls what it means to live like Alyssa Alhadeff. To do so, a big little mentorship program is set up at a club and the girls are paired together for a year to learn from one another and give each other support. A captain is selected from a team to help coordinate the event, it can be any girl on a team who signs up and posses the responsibility to lead LiveLike8 events. There is an initial event where the girls learn their matchups for the year. The bigs come prepared with gifts and signs with their littles names on them, and all at the same time, turn their signs to reveal their who their little is. Once the little sees their name, they run to their big and give them a big hug, exchange numbers, and begin bonding with their mentor for the season. Throughout the rest of the year, there are other small events where the girls can go watch each other’s games or exchange gifts at a Christmas party so the girls continue to support each other. With these events, the girls can make lifelong bonds that will encourage them to be the best teammates and leaders they can be.
What are bigs and littles and what are their responsibilities?
Bigs are girls from an older team that will serve as mentors for teaching the littles what it means to live like Alyssa Alhadeff. Bigs will find out who their littles are before the reveal event and make gift baskets (optional) and signs with their littles name on them. At the event, their little will meet them and they should exchange numbers and begin getting to know each other. The bigs are responsible for providing support to their little through whatever challenges they may face both on and off the field. They should support them at some of their games and always be there when needed.
Littles are girls from the younger teams who will receive their mentors at the reveal event. Going into the event, the littles will not know who their big is. At the event, the bigs will line up with signs, and once they turn them around and the littles find their name, they will run up to their big and meet their mentor for the season. The littles should get their bigs number or any means of communication and begin getting to know them throughout the rest of the event. The littles should support their bigs throughout the season and know they can always go to them for advice and encouragement. Both bigs and littles can support each other through thick and thin and should create a lasting friendship that goes beyond club soccer.