Life is so crazy, and God is so amazing in the way he weaves our lives together. My college experience stretched me to my limits and put me in countless situations that opened my eyes, grew the capacity of my heart and transformed my understanding. As a photojournalism student at Western Kentucky University, I had the opportunity to reach into many lives with my camera. This is one of two main works that came from the depths of my soul and encompasses my passion for mentoring and loving on others.
For four months I followed the Bowling Green Bears youth football team through practices, to games and through their civic involvement. Since the original project was created, I have had the opportunity to return to photograph their coach, Danny Carothers, as he continues to further his community by using sports to connect with at-risk young men in his community.
In 2009, I submitted this story to a USA Today coach contest. As a result, Coach Carothers’ was named USA Today’s Weekend Magazine’s Most Caring Coach of the year, was given $1000 towards his efforts as well as a trip to the Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame ceremonies. Since this title was granted, many more doors have opened for Danny Carothers, including more cash donations to his non-profit, West Side Camp in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
This project opened my eyes to the potential that images have to move viewers and encourage their kindness and giving. I hope that in viewing this project on Coach Carothers that you, too, would be moved to seek out and give to a hometown hero in your own area. Enjoy!