Tommy Bayayok, a former Calista Corporation intern, has been working with the Junior Native Youth Olympics (JNYO) since the early 90s. Tommy began his volunteer work helping at practices, and then made the transition to substitute coach for Gladys Jung Elementary (GJE). His passion for the sport and dedication to children earned him the position of head coach at GJE for the JNYO in 1995.
Native Youth Olympics (NYO) is a program developed from traditional Alaska Native games and is designed to have a positive impact on Youth. NYO is valuable to children as it promotes health and discipline, and instills important values such as leadership and sportsmanship. Traditional contests include the Alaska high kick, the seal hop and more.
“JNYO encourages Youth to have good grades so they can participate in the games; this helps them maintain a good education in the long-run,” said Tommy.
Tommy’s favorite part about coaching the JNYO games is seeing the children learn and advance over time.
“The children work hard and are dedicated towards improvement,” said Tommy. “Working with the children is a lot of fun and extremely rewarding.”
Tommy says that JNYO brings families and communities together while teaching the children good sportsmanship rather than just focusing on competing. Every year Tommy invites NYO judges to travel to GJE to teach Youth the NYO games.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our kids to see the games demonstrated by the judges,” said Tommy.
In order to arrange for these demonstrations, Tommy must raise $4,000 in funds and relies on the generous donations from the people of the Region for airfare, meals and housing. In the past, GJE has raised enough funds to expand the demonstrations to include other schools in the area. If you are interested in donating toward next year’s NYO at Gladys Jung Elementary, please contact Tommy at email@example.com
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