College Possible Minnesota is all about making connections. Coaches making connections with students, students making connections with colleges, College Possible making connections with partner schools. One of the connections we don’t spend a lot of time talking about is coaches making connections with other coaches and building friendships that last past their service with AmeriCorps. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we would tell you about one AmeriCorps coach friendship that blossomed into romance.
Landry Forrest and Will Stevens met during the 2022—2023 school year when they both were serving as College Possible Minnesota coaches. “Will and I were on different teams at College Possible, so we didn’t interact a whole lot other than during all-team community building activities,” said Landry. “I remember hearing how enthusiastically he talked about working with his students and staff at his school site, and appreciating how passionate he is about supporting students in overcoming barriers.”
“Landry and I first met through some College Possible team building activities,” said Will. “I was on the high school access team and Landry was on the college success team, so we only saw each other on Fridays, when the whole team was in the office. We had been placed in the same group for an activity and I could see how much she cared about her work and making connections with students to provide as much support as possible.”
When asked what their favorite memory of serving with College Possible was, Landry replied that, “Part of working as a coach with College Possible includes staffing events and campus tours. Will and I staffed a few of the same events throughout the year, and it was incredible to see how quickly he bonded with students and how much they appreciated having him around as a support system.”
Landry continued, “Also, because Will worked with high school students and I worked with college students, I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of the former students he served, who now go to St. Catherine University, where I serve as an on-campus success coach.”
Will responded that, “two other coaches, Landry, and I were lucky enough to get free tickets to a Twins baseball game through College Possible from a generous donation from the Pohlad Companies. I grew up playing baseball and am a huge fan of the Twins. So, getting the opportunity to go to a game with Landry and my peers was a wonderful experience and one that I will never forget.”
One of the facets of coaching is building a bond with students and forming relationships with fellow AmeriCorps members. “I think one way in which College Possible helped me build new relationships is that it allowed me to meet people that shared my passion and drive to make the world a better place,” said Will. “Coming into the organization knowing that your peers have that in common with you really helps you to connect with them quickly and make lasting relationships.”
“Through College Possible, I’ve been able to meet so many people I care deeply about, including Will and some of my best friends to this day! Everyone here has a similar level of drive and passion for supporting others, which makes it easy to connect past a surface-level working relationship,” said Landry. “College Possible also embodies a culture that emphasizes the importance of valuing its employees for everything they are and do, not just as an employee.”
When asked for general words of advice for new coaches or folks thinking about coaching, Landry responded, “Put yourself out there! Whether that’s in seeking out areas for professional growth, like taking on new projects and learning something new, or making an effort to build upon the relationships you have. Coming out of college into a new job can be a daunting experience, but by putting myself outside of my comfort zone, I’ve had opportunities and made relationships I couldn’t have imagined having when I first started at College Possible.”
“One piece of advice that springs to mind is cherishing the opportunity you have as a College Possible coach,” said Will. “My term of service was incredibly rewarding in both feeling good about the work I was doing and helping me find my passion for a long-term career path. I think coaches, new or prospective, should make sure to make the most of their opportunity.”
Landry is currently serving a second year as a college coach while Will lives in Chicago and is currently substitute teaching. Both Will and Landry plan to attend graduate school in the future; Will wants to pursue a master of education in counseling, while Landry will enter Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, to get her certificate in higher education administration & policy.