COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Joe Kenton volunteers his time for the Long Island City YMCA Youth League. There he coaches baseball for the freshman division, a group of 14 to 16-year-olds and spends up to 15 hours per week running practices and coaching games at Queensbridge Park. He even takes his team down to a local batting cage, where they can work on their swings, all out of his own pocket. This is his second season volunteering as a coach, and he said he hopes to add flag football to his coaching resume this fall.
PERSONAL: Kenton is 28 years old and has one older brother named Sam. He lives with his girlfriend Colleen Cavanagh, in Sunnyside, where he has lived for the past two years. Kenton graduated with a political science degree from South Dakota State University. He said he hopes to have kids of his own one day, and definitely wants to coach them as well.
OCCUPATION: Director of Constituents Services for Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, he works with members of the community, dealing with any issues they may have about the quality of life in their area, such as noise or pothole issues. Kenton has worked for the councilmember since he took office in January 2010. Before that, he worked for Van Bramer’s campaign.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Kenton said the biggest challenge with regards to volunteering is “making sure I can be at the places I say I am going to be at. One of the important things for the kids is that someone is there for them,” he added. He said that they need to know they can rely on someone and need a steady force in their lives.
FAVORITE MEMORY: His favorite memory comes from coaching his little leaguers last year, when his team won the championship. “It was really cool,” Kenton said. “Jimmy came down to hand out the awards. Everyone gets a trophy, but we got the bigger trophy.” He also said that he hopes they can win again this year, and that is the goal for his team.
INSPIRATION: Kenton said that his inspiration for coaching comes from his dad, Mike. “He always did this,” he said of his father. “Growing up, he was always my coach. A lot of my friends still like to talk about our days of playing baseball and football together.” He added that he loves to coach and that he gets an extremely rewarding feeling from watching his team grow and improve. – Marc Cira