Discovering potential

Tyson Goings '01

tyson goings '01Knowing that he was making a difference in someone s life is what drew Tyson Goings 01 to community service. While deciding on a major at Bluffton, Goings enrolled in a number of recreation courses, which required him to work with different groups within the community. I really enjoyed seeing the facial expressions of the people our classes were helping, he says.

That enjoyment is what led him to become an activities coordinator for Starr Commonwealth s Montcalm School for Girls, a therapeutic residential treatment facility for young women ages 12-18, in Van Wert, Ohio. These young women arrive with behavioral, emotional and/or substance abuse problems and are provided with a holistic approach to treatment and opportunities to grow through strength-based learning, a positive peer culture and gender-specific treatment. We create a positive surrounding for girls, teaching them to build healthy relationships, says Goings. We help them to deal with the problems that brought them to Starr and teach them better solutions to solving problems.

For Goings, his time at Bluffton was a period of building relationships, starting with Carlin Carpenter who was the head football coach at the time. Carlin was like a father figure to me while I was at Bluffton, says Goings whose own father passed away when he was 15. He was always available to me, always there to mentor and encourage me. Additionally, he credits Tami Forbes, associate professor of recreation and chair of the health, physical education and recreation department, with helping him to understand that football wouldn t be able to carry him through life; a focus on academic achievement was essential.

While at Bluffton, Goings developed a relationship with Daryl Dowdy 90, who each year brought to campus a group of teenagers from Starr. Dowdy became a contact for Goings, who was impressed with the difference the organization was making in the lives of the next generation. Immediately after graduating from Bluffton, he joined the staff at Starr. After four years, he became burned out and opted to explore a different career path. During the next two years, Goings says, I came to realize that I made more money, but money wasn t everything and that making a difference in even one person s life meant more than money. And so he returned to his former position at the treatment facility.

As an activities coordinator, Goings plans community service projects, fitness programs, arts and crafts, as well as trips to outside events like a football game, the movies or a rodeo. I plan activities that support the students holistic treatments and provide a positive influence, he says.

Goings realizes that the time he devotes to Starr s residents is much like the time Carlin Carpenter and Tami Forbes devoted to him while he was at Bluffton. I see potential in every girl that enters the program, says Goings. Most of them just made some bad choices in their lives. I offer them different options. Instead of using drugs and alcohol, I show them how they can grow through different activities. Being around different individuals during his time at Bluffton gave Goings the perspective he needed to deal with the different issues that accompany troubled teens. At Bluffton, I learned to build relationships by seeing the differences in people and their backgrounds, which gave me a better understanding of who they really are, he says. And a better understanding is just what Goings needs to help each teenager he works with discover her true potential, just like Bluffton did for him.