RICHMOND, Ind. – A former college athlete, now turned teacher and coach, is reaching out to teenagers across the state to host a “vent” session for those who need it.
Nathon Trawick started working at Richmond schools this year. He teaches elementary-aged students and coaches football, wrestling and track at the high school.
In March, the coronavirus outbreak shut down schools and ended the spring athletic season. It was at that point that Trawick started meeting with his students and student-athletes over Zoom.
“It was a way to check up on them, to see how they were doing,” Trawick said.
He also started hosting what he called “motivational Wednesdays.”
“I get a guest speaker to talk,” he explained. “I know a couple of buddies that are currently in the NFL. I also have athletes, all types of athletes; not necessarily a big time, five-star athlete in high school, but they have worked to where they are at, to have a successful college career and playing professional.”
Trawick said those athletes inspire his student-athletes by showing hard work pays off.
“They were just like you,” he went on.
Within the last month, though, Trawick noticed teenagers wanted to talk more and more. They didn’t necessarily need to talk about sports, but about what was happening in the world around them.
“The quarantine and racial tensions, riots and stuff,” Trawick listed. “I know the fears and anxieties that I have and I’m 23 going on 24. I can only imagine what somebody is going through at 15, 16, 17, 18.”
Trawick started offering the high schoolers a Zoom call, just to vent. He said he had something similar in college and that it really helped him through some difficult times.
“I think it’s easier for them to connect with me because I just finished playing sports and I’m a younger guy,” he told CBS4. “I guess it’s easier to connect to a 23-year-old. I have had conversations with kids, especially 17 and 18 years old. They feel comfortable sharing things with me that they had to ease into with their parents.”
Noticing how many students wanted an outlet like this, he is now expanding his weekly Zoom calls to teenagers across the state. Starting Monday, June 8th, he will allow anyone – from anywhere in Indiana – into the call.
“I want them to feel comfortable talking to me,” he said. “Kind of like an older brother figure, they can come to and vent to because I have the same anxieties and things too.”
Trawick believes the younger generation is especially vulnerable and anxious because of social media.
“They’re exposed to everything. You can see everything. You don’t have to be there to see what’s going on,” he explained.
Teens are welcome to sit in on the Zoom call and talk about what ever they are feeling. Trawick said students are also welcome to join the call and remain anonymous, if that’s something they prefer.
“Anybody is welcome. It’s an open space. It’s a non-judgmental space. Even if you want to come and don’t want to talk, that’s awesome.”
If you’d like to join the meeting, here is the link and other information is below. It begins at 8 p.m. Monday.
Meeting ID: 320 353 4168