By TIA CAROL JONES
The Hyde Park Neighborhood Club celebrated its 109th anniversary on Friday, with its annual gala. It also honored two coaches, Jeremiah O’Connor and Tyrone White.
“Jeremiah O’Connor and Tyrone White have a lot in common. They’re both incredibly accomplished and demanding of respect from their students and the staff,” said Sarah Diwan, executive director.
Diwan said it is important to bring everyone together at least once a year. “We try to get as many alums as we can to come back here,” she said.
Diwan praised O’Connor and White for their commitment to the kids they coach. “Coach White is very willing to help out and be part of the team,” she said. “It’s been fabulous to see that [tumbling program] grow.”
White has been working with young people for 40 years. He was a basketball coach from 2000 to 2005 and from 2016 to the present. He said it feels great to be honored by the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.
“I want kids to have a chance and not feel pressured by adults. At the same time, they’re learning a skill and getting physically fit,” he said.
For White, it is all about the children’s reactions to his instructions.
“It’s great to see that smile on their face when they get it, there’s nothing like it,” he said.
O’Connor has been a tumbling coach at Hyde Park Neighborhood Club for five years.
“You get so busy doing your thing sometimes, it’s nice when people take a moment to assess and appreciate the work we’ve been doing,” he said.
O’Connor said what keeps him going is the children. “The important thing is that they have a good experience and experience joy in their athletics, getting better and getting stronger.
O’Connor said it is his job to continue the mission of the organization which is to help children thrive. “I get my energy from that, the kids and their enthusiasm and their drive,” he said.