Positive Role Models mentee John Okafor signed his first professional rugby contract
Read in his own words how PRM has supported him through this amazing achievement.
"Positive Role models has been critical in helping me achieve my goal by signing my first professional rugby contract. I've known Coach Frank since I was 14 when I first started playing basketball.
When I went my separate ways with basketball to pursue rugby, instead turning his back on me, he wished me luck. He took me under his wing helping myself not to lose myself or get into trouble. Coach Frank became more like a mentor to me, giving me advice of where to go next and what the best step is for me.
Again, when I left to go to boarding school, he would call me to check how not only my rugby was going but also how my studies where going. Coach Frank instilled a lot of emphasis on doing well at school as an individual may have the biggest dreams of playing in the NBA but tells everyone he works with that education is the foundation to everything.
I believe that Coach Frank and positive role models have been truly instrumental in the person I am today and without them who knows where I would have been today."
Jame successfully applied his training work ethic to his studies and got As and Bs for his GCSEs
Coach Franck came to my school when I started year 9 and did basketball sessions every single morning, as well as after school Tuesdays and Thursdays. I always liked basketball so I decided to go. From the first day I went I realised it was going to be extremely intensive and challenging. The first thing I remember doing was 10 laps with a timed target of 1 minute as a warm up. At the time as a player I wasn't good but I definitely wasn't the worst but what I realised that was holding me back was that I was very unfit.
I was chubby and had bad stamina, so every time I did 10 laps I was always one of the slowest, doing it in just under 2 minutes. I knew if I didn't do anything about it I wouldn't improve. The constant pushing and motivation Coach gave me and the people who were training to keep going and not give up, helped me begin my weight loss journey. Even though training alone helped me lose a lot of weight, it wasn't enough so at least 3 times a week I would work on my fitness and workout at home. I would do a lot of press ups, skipping and go running on occasion as well as playing more basketball outside of school .
Over the last 4 years I lost a lot of my fat weight and replaced it with muscle by constantly working out and playing basketball whilst keeping myself motivated to carry on. Last year during year 11 I thought that if I can apply this work ethic towards basketball and working out, I could also do this with academics. By the end of the year, I came out with 2 As and 6 Bs for my GCSEs.
For everyone that is going through the same struggle that I did with weight loss, getting better at basketball and school, just remember if you put in the work and never give up, you can achieve greatness! It's not going to be instant, so you need to be prepared to put in the effort to see results . I thank Coach Franck for giving me this mindset which is what guided me through all of this. If he hadn't come to my school and inspire me, I don't think any of this would have been possible.