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Guiding Young Lives: 7 Questions With S and F Athletes Founder Richard Foster

Meet Richard Foster, co-founder of S and F Athletes, a nonprofit organization based in Arlington committed to creating well-rounded student athletes through community mentoring programs. Foster and co-founder Henry Stewart used the first initials of their last names "S and F" to begin the program because they both saw a need for role models in economically challenged areas of the metroplex.

With more than 25 years of experience working with youth, Foster brings a vast background to S and F Athletes. He has worked with children across a broad spectrum including special education, as a school suspension teacher for the Irving ISD and in juvenile detention in Tarrant County. Foster also spent 12 years coaching football, basketball and track. We wanted to know more about the passion fueling Foster's desire to change young lives and he was kind enough to answer a few questions:

Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about S and F Athletes.

Richard Foster: S and F Athletes is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization and was created with the belief and commitment that every child deserves the opportunity to learn, regardless of economic disadvantages. We co-founded Skills and Faith Athletes to serve students, parents, schools, and the community through a comprehensive, research-based mentoring program. We developed this unique and supportive mentoring model based on the student’s developmental needs in school, community and family.

DT: What are your duties at S and F Athletes?

RF: I am the CEO and co-founder and Henry Stewart is the COO and co-founder.

DT: How did you become involved and why are you so passionate about the work being done? 

RF: The original plan was to help increase the number of student-athletes to succeed in college. That led to us mentoring student-athletes in becoming well-rounded students, instead of just being any athlete. After years of study, research, applied practice, collaborating with school administration and faculty, we felt that all students can benefit from mentoring. We took a couple of words that began with the first initials of our last name. With that, Skill and Faith Athletes was born. Skill is your ability, faith is belief in your skill and athletes are a part of a team.

DT: Why do you believe a mentor can make such a big difference in a child's life?

RF: Every child needs that fatherly figure in his/her life. They need someone to lead them along the right path. Unfortunately, too many kids grow up without mentors in their life. We believe that a mentor is destined to set kids up for success.

DT: It can be difficult for any nonprofit to pay the bills. How do you stay afloat?

RF: It went from out of our own pocket, to working the concession stand at TCU Football games and AT&T Stadium.

DT: How can the people of North Texas and beyond help meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs?

RF: Our biggest need is to increase our staff (full and part) and have a location that we can operate out of.

DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at S and F Athletes?

RF: When we were approved to implement our mentoring program in our first school.

Learn more about S and F Athletes here: www.sfathletes.com

If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at dtongish@yahoo.com or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014