Sunday, September 12, 2010

Georgia's On My Mind

I recently started coaching pre-school age children 3-5 year olds how to play soccer.

The company I'm working with is Soccer Shots focused on teaching children soccer and leadership skills .

This past weekend I coached two full sessions of 3 year olds. I was so excited to have many little girls signed up. One of these girls was named Georgia and was really shy and immediately started crying when I began. This is not uncommon with children this age so I always try my best to include them and get other children to encourage them to participate.

I have learned quickly that patience works best and that reassurance is helpful in building their confidence. By the end of the session Georgia had stopped crying and was smiling and enjoying herself. I think Georgia's story applies to many areas of life and especially in the business world. When you feel accepted and trust the people that you work with your attitude changes. When your attitude is positive then your actions follow and you yield positive results.

In whatever you do, do it as though you are doing it unto the Lord and not for man. My desire is to work with a cheerful heart no matter the circumstances. Today in church we talked about the woman with a small jar of oil and how she trusted God to use what she already had and how He multiplied it substantially. God’s desire is to bless us tremendously, and he always uses what we have to give to Him and then He does what we cannot do.

I am prepared to work with patience, encourage others with a cheerful heart and trust in God and you can be too! Act your way into feeling. This is something my soccer coach told me-try it this week and see for yourself.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Art For A Change

I had the privilege to read the NY Times article "To Those With Nothing, Soccer Is Everything". I was inspired to write the artist, Jessica Hilltout and share with her how incredible her work on the AMEN project [pictured above] was and how it truly touched me. Another part of her work that was fascinating was that it was a self-published and self-funded project.

Today, I was reminded of her artwork when I was playing soccer and all of a sudden my cleat ripped, yep out flopped my big foot. I have had this happen to me only once before, but for some reason this time was totally different. My initial reaction was not oh crap or man I got to get new cleats it was wow so many people around the world play with no cleats or cleats ripped just like these and I was humbled.

"In this life we can not do great things. We can only do small things with great love." Mother Teresa once shared this wisdom and I thank God for showing me this truth. As if I had not received enough encouragement already today on my drive home I was listening to these song lyrics "Give me your eyes for just one second, give me your eyes so I can see, everything that I've been missing, give me your love for humanity." I love how something so small as my cleat ripping or a picture that I see in a newspaper or a soccer ball that I give to a needy child can serve such a greater purpose. I have recognized that art is all around me and I am open to being changed by it. I pray you will be too. Please check out more of Jessica Hillouts amazing artwork:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thank You Coach Wooden

The television has been filled with images of the legendary basketball coach, John Wooden and the news of his recent death at the age of 99. To those who knew him best, it was never about his impressive basketball-coaching career, but about the integrity of a man who lived a life worth talking about.

In the book, How to Be Like Coach Wooden: Life Lessons from Basketball's Greatest Leader, Jim Harley, longtime coach at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida wrote these words,

“John Wooden is a humble giant. At the 1975 Final Four, I saw him sitting by himself one morning, getting some sun. I walked over sat down next to him and we talked for thirty minutes. What an awesome time it was for me as we talked about recruiting, practices and other things coaches discuss. Here he was going for his tenth national title and he had time for an unknown coach from a small school in Florida.”

Jim Harley is my uncle, my mother’s maiden name is Linda Harley and my grandfather, Bill Harley, was his older brother. I was blessed to visit my Uncle Jim a few weeks ago at his beautiful home in St. Petersburg. My father and mother had their wedding reception in his backyard almost 30 years ago and so I always love visiting his home.

This visit was different; Uncle Jim invited me into his coaching office where I stood in awe of all the plaques, pictures, trophies and books that filled the space. He went to the bookshelf and grabbed a book and handed it to me opened to the page where I read about him meeting Coach Wooden. He then flipped to the books inside cover and in it had placed the article about Coach Wooden Athletes for a Better World Citizenship Cup award highlighting where I was listed as a semi-finalist.

I smiled to hold back the tears that desperately wanted to roll down my cheeks and instead pointed to a large picture of an older black man and asked him who was photographed in the picture.

He shared with me that this picture was of one of his former basketball players who died, and that he had the honor of speaking at his funeral. He spoke of all the emotions that he felt on that day speaking in front of his family and many loved ones.

After telling many more stories and reminiscing of the past and looking at some of Aunt Mary Alice’s paintings, I was finally ready to head home.

Earlier, Uncle Jim had handed me a graduation gift, the book, Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, Building Blocks for a Better Life. I was so thankful for our time together and before I left, Uncle Jim gave me a big hug and said these three words, “ I love you. ” This was the first time I had ever heard these words spoken from him and I had no grasp to the impression it would leave.

I smiled and again fought back the tears that were trying to get loose. I made it to the car and rode in silence for some time until they came, my tears rolling down my cheeks, as I was filled with such wonderful emotions of happiness, joy and thankfulness.

My Uncle Jim is the closest person I have to a grandfather. I am even crying as I write this. My grandfather, Bill Harley, died three years ago from cancer, I loved my grandpa and was so blessed to be able to see him and hold his hand the week before he passed away. He was my only grandpa, as my father’s dad died when he was 2 years old and his adopted father passed away when he was 18 years old.

I was at a friends wedding this weekend and again felt these same emotions as I watched her dance with her grandfather. I will not have this opportunity, but I know that they will be smiling down from heaven watching me dance on my wedding day.

There are so many great life lessons that I have learned just through reading Coach Wooden’s Building Blocks For A Better Life.

I love his definition of integrity, “purity of intention”. My parents chose my name, Kara, because it signifies purity. I desire to have a pure heart and although many times I mess up and seek my own way, I know that the Lord has called me to walk in his light and to love him and love others.

Coach Wooden talks about the integrity of those such as Mother Teresa, who said, “ A life not lived for others is not a life.”

Uncle Jim exemplifies Coach Wooden’s definition of integrity. Here is just a glimpse …

Coach Harley taught me many things, but there are three I want to highlight: 1) the team's welfare is above any one individual; 2) that you must always finish what you started; and 3) friendship is a life time commitment and endeavor. I am the man I am today because Coach Harley was an influence in my early years and has stayed involved. My relationship with Coach erased the specter of race. I cannot hate because of James R. Harley even though I have many times been given reasons and grounds. Hating would diminish what we have shared. He is a keeper.
- Harry K. Singletary, Jr. ‘68

In honor of Coach Wooden I wrote this blog to him, as I would share with him all this I wrote and finish with saying these humble words, “thank you.”

Friday, June 4, 2010

Benefiting Children In South Africa

June is finally here and I am rejoicing about the start of 2010 FIFA South Africa World Cup this summer! I am also enjoying serving as the public relations intern for the philanthropic charity organization, Little Feet (LF) as well this summer.

So what is Little Feet all about?

Little Feet is a social enterprise that gives underprivileged children the chance to play “the Beautiful Game” by providing them with new, high-quality soccer balls. Founded upon the “one for one” model, it donates a ball to a needy child for each one sold through its website, Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, the Little Feet Foundation has proudly shared its passion for soccer with disadvantaged children and schools since its inception in March 2006, reaching thousands of children in over 40 countries worldwide.

I had the privilege to be introduced to LF by our GCSU soccer coach, Juan Pablo Favero. Our GCSU soccer program partners with LF using LF balls as our team practice balls.

I've experienced first hand the impact of LF’s global mission; I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua last summer to distribute LF balls to the local soccer league there. LF allows players like myself to have a globally social responsible perspective and it also provides players an understanding of the true value of giving back to the community.

After soccer championships are won, it is not the scores that are remembered years later, but always the relationships formed and the passions shared for this “beautiful game” we play. LF is about making a difference in people’s lives by promoting peace through soccer and giving hope worldwide.

Little Feet has always set “Big Goals” and Trevor Slavick, co-founder of the organization, is launching a LF Soccer Ball Partnership Program. I have already begun contacting various soccer organizations to get involved with this effort.

In addition, I have been working on contacting both local and national media requesting media support to help spread the word about the launch of the 2010 FIFA World Cup U.S. Men’s National Team Supporter Shirt.

For every shirt sold, Little Feet has pledged to donate a soccer ball to an underprivileged child in South Africa during the World Cup.

This internship has been so rewarding in that I am seeing the global impact it is having everyday and I am understanding more and more why companies and organizations do pro-bono work and donate to charities and philanthropies. I truly do light up when I talk about LF and I am eager to see them grow and expand this summer as I put my public relations skills to work.

A soccer teammate will be traveling to Guyana on July 10-17th. She will be at a children's home and running a soccer clinic there and distrubuting LF balls. Another acquaintance is taking LF balls to Schools for Niger, Africa. These are just two examples of the kind of impact I am talking about.

I recently read a press release that the Atlanta Beat Soccer Foundation and Chick-fil-A have joined forces to donate gently used soccer gear to the Schools of Niger, Africa in the Donate Your Gear program. Drop locations include all 12 Atlanta Beat home games in addition to 20 additional drop zones at local Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout Georgia.

Items collected for the schools of Niger, Africa include:
Coaches gear
Water bottles

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post, and please if you have any questions feel free to contact me.


Kara Teresi
Public Relations Intern
Little Feet/Big Goals
Peace through soccer
(813) 335-7096

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lead this...

A week ago today, John Maxwell was a featured speaker at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast. This is a one-day leadership event featuring a premier speaker lineup of the world's best leaders. Broadcast LIVE from Atlanta to hundreds of locations throughout the country and world, the Chick-fil-A Leadercast is a catalyst for new ideas and better leadership practice.

Check out the website where you can download free audio and video content.

This week I have enjoyed reading John Maxwell's book "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership-Follow Them and People Will Follow You" and personally learning from his experiences at age 22 right after he graduated college and took his first job. Maxwell states, Leadership is influence-nothing more, nothing less." In my search for my first job job, I am working to PLAN AHEAD using Maxwell's acrostic below as great guide.

Predetermine a course of action
Lay out your goals
Adjust your priorities
Notify key personnel

Allow time for acceptance
Head into action
Expect problems
Always point to successes
Daily review your plan

Maxwell further discusses that the barriers to successful planning are fear of change, ignorance, uncertainty about the future and lack of imagination. "It's not the position that makes the leader, its the leader that makes the position." -Stanley Huffty

My college soccer coach, Juan Pablo Favero used a lot of Maxwell's leadership laws as he instructed our team for the past 2 years. I recognize so much of our team leadership process in this book, and I see the value that it has brought me in my own life. Maxwell points out 7 key areas that reveal themselves in leaders lives to step forward as leaders. These include: Character, Relationships, Knowledge, Intuition, Experience, Past Success and Ability. Leadership is a privilege, and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to lead and learn from others like Maxwell about how to be a better leader. I know this will benefit not only myself, but my followers and future employer.

Monday, May 10, 2010

College Graduate

Check out this link to a short clip of me walking across the stage at my college graduation on Saturday May 8, 2010.
This was the One Hundred Twenty-Sixth Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony at Georgia College & State University. I was so happy to have my family there for this special day. My four college years are now finished. I am so humbled to think of what an amazing college experience I had and I leave with such a sense of satisfaction. While shaking hands with our GCSU President Dorothy Leland she pointed and smiled with this remark, "You did a great job". I walked off the stage smiling ear to ear thanking the Lord for His greatness in me. I am excited to continue to do a great job as the Lord leads me in this new chapter of my life as a college graduate.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

LF -World Cup South Africa

I'm so excited for the World Cup in South Africa this summer! Here is a picture of me at the Atlanta Beat soccer stadium a few weeks ago and yes I am sporting the official Little Feet (LF) World Cup t-shirt. LF is such a great organization and I always enjoy blogging about what they are doing and the impact they are making across the globe. LF slogan is You Play, They Play. LF provides soccer balls to underprivileged children worldwide. Our GCSU soccer team trains with the LF soccer balls-the quality of these balls are amazing and their mission is inspiring. Please join LF on Facebook and follow them on twitter @littlefeet_com. Don't forget to visit to purchase your LF World Cup t-shirt today. Best of all, you will be donating a soccer ball to a needy child in South Africa this summer! The U.S. opener is June 12 so make sure to get your official LF World Cup t-shirt before all the excitement begins!