I passed by the brick exterior of Anna’s House hundreds of times, always telling myself that I need to stop and find out how I can help.

Something in me clicked one day and I stopped in with my daughter, Devin, to see how I could lend a hand. I had visions of cutting the grass, fixing leaky plumbing, and doling out advice to the small kids playing in the yard there. But it would be my love of coaching that would come into play for Anna’s House.

I have coached my daughters in everything from soccer to basketball to lacrosse, and strongly believe that much is attained from organized sports. Soccer season was about to begin, so I made a call to my old neighbor in charge of the program and told him what I was looking to do. He put me in touch with Cindy Hanley from Anna’s House, who proceeded to tell me of two brothers, Vance and Ben, whom she had in mind to try the mentoring program at Anna’s House called “Anna’s Guys. “

Immediately, we fell into a comfortable routine. Practices were Wednesdays and games on Saturday. They even felt comfortable enough to jump into the minivan, put on their cleats and grab some water bottles from the cooler.

They were treated just like everyone else, a part of the team. Devin, who is a senior in high school, helped coach their soccer team, and as the season wore on, she became more attached to the boys than I realized. The unsure beginnings turned into normal soccer talk; game strategies, how tall Big Joe really was, and everything else that comes with being on a team.

Kim, Vance, and Ben’s Mom came to most of the games, always cheering and yelling at them from the sidelines. Kim once told me how she never thought she would ever be a soccer Mom. The rain shortened the season early with a loss in the end of year tournament. I had been taking pictures at most of the games, so I put them all together and gave Kim a photo album so they would remember the season.

I believe I obtained more from mentoring than Ben and Vance did playing this season. I hope in ten years they will be looking through the photo album and remember playing soccer for me, remember their teammates, practices, and how tall Big Joel really was. When I see them nowadays, I’m peppered with questions from the boys about playing baseball and lacrosse next season. Looks like more photo albums to come in the future, I hope.

Sean, “Anna’s Guys” Mentor