Monday, October 21, 2013

Volunteer Spotlight! Meet Dallin Morris.

 Dallin has come almost every Saturday of the past two soccer seasons to referee the games for the kids!
Dallin grew up in the Wild Wild West- otherwise known as Elko, Nevada. Elko is known for three things: (1) gold mining, (2) cattle ranching, and (3) the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Dallin was fortunate to grow up with all three; he even won an award at the Poetry Gathering in elementary school.

As a child, Dallin loved to roam the ranch with his younger brother and sister, feeding, brushing, and riding horses. As if ranch life was not exciting enough, Dallin’s dad and grandpa were in the gold mining business. When he was 18, Dallin traveled with them to Brazil, where they flew tiny airplanes over tall trees and visited villages in the Amazon. During this trip Dallin received a call from his mom, informing him that he had been called to serve an LDS mission in Brazil the following year.

As one of our valued South Franklin soccer referees, Dallin has a heart for both service and sports. Dallin was involved with soccer, basketball, and track in high school. His parents supported all of his activities and encouraged him to be involved in his community. Dallin says it was his dad who “used to drag me out to volunteer,” but “once I grew up I realized how much fun it actually was.” That is why in college Dallin decided to commit his weekends to service.  “I had some free time on weekends and I was looking online for a place to volunteer,” he says. That is when he found South Franklin Community Center. He has now been volunteering here for almost 2 years! 

Dallin tearing it up on the soccer field!
Dallin looks forward to the fall because he gets to referee. “Most people my age sleep in on Saturday mornings,” he says, “But I’m up early and by the time I get home I am ready to do homework and relax.” Dallin says he enjoys volunteering with the kids at South Franklin Community Center because they influence him for good and make him laugh.  He believes the soccer league and sports in general are beneficial for kids because “they learn how to respect their coach while working together toward the same goal.” He continues, “The more you’re a team player and respect your coach or boss or whoever it may be, the better off you will be in the future.”

Dallin gives some guidance to the 5-8 year old players in his first year with us. 
This past Saturday, Dallin helped us close out another successful soccer season!

It is hard to find a better role model than Dallin, who studies Public Relations at BYU. Before BYU, Dallin served a 2-year LDS mission in Maceio, Brazil. Living in the third most violent city in the world meant Dallin witnessed events that most of us in the U.S. will hopefully never encounter. The unreliability of resources also made it difficult to make a missionary stipend last; one time Dallin went five days without running water and another time he ate nothing but bread rolls for a week. Although the challenge of learning a new language in a completely new culture was difficult, Dallin persevered and came away from his experience fluent in Portuguese. He also developed great relationships with people he met in Brazil. “They are incredibly nice and generous. They would split their last roll with you if you asked them to.”

Other things that Dallin enjoys are spending time with his cousins (he has 50 of them!), riding his bike everywhere, playing sports, and baking. Dallin says, “The best thing I have ever baked is homemade Twinkies. They were so complicated to make but so delicious. Even my sister complimented me on those.” His baking must be better than he lets on; because he shared that he has catered many bridal showers and other family events. His dream job utilizing his education in PR is to open his own personal consulting and finance firm, where he would help people who were struggling to get out of debt. Another dream job is to retire and just bake. Nothing goes better with a freshly baked muffin than a good book, and Dallin has a passion for reading. Thankfully, Dallin created a list of his favorite books for us!

Dallin says, “Pretty much everything you need to know about life is in this list of books.”
Feel free to start reading this list of books with us!
Getting to know Dallin has been a pleasure for all the staff, volunteers, and youth at the South Franklin Community Center. We hope Dallin achieves all of his dreams and look forward to hearing about all of his achievements.

Dallin’s Random Fantastic Book List: 
Stories: (favorite genre)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Self-help: (second favorite genre)
Leadership and Self-Deception by the Arbinger Institute
The Servant by James Hunter
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl 
Anything on the blog:"Mr. Money Mustache"

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Volunteer Spotlight: Sterling Hancock

Meet Sterling, a South Franklin Soccer League volunteer referee who moonlights as a BYU men’s soccer player.

Photo Credit: Brian Nicholson, Deseret News. From

BYU soccer’s strong tradition of service is what introduced Sterling to the community center. Last year the team held a free clinic at the Boulder’s Field where, Sterling explained, they teach kids soccer but also emphasize that school comes first. He says, “I like to share a story about some of my high school teammates who were super talented players, but who jeopardized their futures (in soccer) because of grades. Grades are becoming increasingly important in college sports. If you have two equally talented players up for a scholarship, the school is going to take the one with better grades.”

Another priority for Sterling is service. Sterling returned to volunteer because he believes in the importance of giving back.  He explains, “I have an urge to do things for other people… sometimes we get caught up in our own ambitions, but volunteering  keeps me grounded and I love doing it; it makes me feel good.”

But how does a full-time student and semi-pro soccer player have time for volunteering? Sterling says, “You have to put the time aside first and then you have no excuse.” Sterling’s penchant for giving is mirrored by his favorite soccer player, Thierry Henry who recently agreed to donate $5000 to the non-profit Grassroots Soccer for every goal he scores in the upcoming season. Apart from the fact that he played for Sterling’s favorite team, Arsenal FC, Henry is his favorite player because he “was not only the top goal scorer, he was also an entertainer who liked to do crazy tricks because he knew the fans loved it.”

BYU coach Chris Watkins describes Sterling style of play on the field. “Sterling is a fierce competitor,” he says. “His commitment to our training and his desire to be his best really separate him as a top defender in our league.” When asked what makes Sterling unique, Coach Watkins replied, “(He) really understands the game and exactly what it takes to be his best.”

Sterling’s sharpness and stellar performance extends beyond the field as well. When he was a junior in high school, Sterling suffered a back injury that put him on the bench for 11 long months. Rather than sit idle, he started taking pictures of his teammates. Sterling, who loves what he calls, “the adventure of discovery” says he “poured his energy into photography and learned a lot in a year.” Pretty soon he was taking professional photos for engagements and at weddings- something he continues today. When asked why he likes photography he responded, “I get to interact with a lot of different people that I wouldn't come across otherwise.” 

One of Sterling’s favorite photography project reflects the interpersonal interaction he enjoys so much. In high school, he replicated the style of the infamous photo, Migrant Mother of the American Dust Bowl. Sterling walked around the streets of Palo Alto to complete a portrait series about homelessness. He would strike up conversations with homeless individuals, get to know them, and then ask if he could take their picture. “Homeless people are often dehumanized,” Sterling explained. “The project helped me learn about people- everyone has a different story.”

As for the future, Sterling aims to play professional soccer. In April he will graduate with a degree in Exercise Science and is interested in becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic. We at the South Franklin Community Center look forward to following Sterling’s success. We are lucky to have a friend and volunteer in Sterling!

A Self-Portrait by Sterling Hancock. To see more of Sterling's work visit his website.

South Franklin Soccer League Photos Taken by Sterling:

To see more South Franklin Soccer League photos taken by Sterling check our our Facebook Page.