The CEO of Beat the Streets New England, Bior Guigni believes there is power in the lessons wrestling can teach you. Wrestling in both high school and in college, she was a trailblazer in the sport that was predominantly male. The opportunity to make an impact as one of the first women in the sport shaped Bior into the agent of change we see today.
“The sport itself has this sort of honor, integrity, and respect that comes with just showing up because it’s hard to wrestle.”, Bior tells us. “The feelings resonate with you and you take them with you forever.”
Bior learned early on that the lessons she experienced in wrestling would serve her well beyond the mat. Bior explains that there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll lose; but there’s also a 50/50 chance you’ll win, so she trained her brain to embrace a different mindset. Before a match, she’d tell herself, “whatever happens today, I’m going to learn and take that with me to the next match.” As in life, moving forward is vital in wrestling. Whether you win or lose, the goal is to keep evolving.
Seven years after learning those valuable lessons as an NCAA athlete, and experiencing the impact of a global pandemic, Bior created Beat the Streets New England – a wrestling-based youth development program with mentoring. BTSNE aims to engage, enrich, evolve, educate, and empower underserved youth throughout New England. Bior explains that “using wrestling as a tool and motivator, we teach our youth to successfully overcome socio-economic injustices.”
The program supports the cities they operate in by offering a free, coordinated youth sports program – something that is often hard to come by in underserved communities.
At BTSNE, players learn the fundamentals of practice and the sport as a whole. They even started their own business called the Hungry Wrestler which provides fresh fruits and vegetables to their community for free.
To appropriately support the youth in their program, the coaches at BTSNE are trained in high-trauma coaching. Former OTW guest, Paul Caccamo’s organization, Up2Us Sports, facilitates BTSNE’s 40-hour coach training. When a young athlete experiences violence, this causes stress. After experiencing this stress, the brain starts to subconsciously respond to protect themselves. Once a child starts down the path of seeing stress and closing in to protect themselves, it slows down their development. By using the Up2Us training, BTSNE coaches are informed to see, react, and respond appropriately to support the child’s development.
Using these techniques, and fueled by Bior’s stellar determination, Beat the Streets New England has fed the minds (and bellies) of growing children as they evolve and advance toward the next steps in life.
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