NYPD Officer Matos helping Bronx youth to succeed
By Robert Foreman
NEW YORK – As a parent, NYPD Officer Victor Matos understands how important it is to groom the future leaders of our nation in a safe environment. However, where other people will only talk about doing something to put young people first, Matos is actually following through with real action. He helped to co-found ‘Matters of Sports Athletic League’ (MOS), which is a sports league in the Bronx that was created with the objective of mentoring young people in a positive manner.
“Victor has worked as a liaison with the Police Athletic League, and other sports organizations, and I volunteer with community work and helping out with the schools and children. I wanted to do something more after I went to an NYPD event and one of the parents told me that they would not have brought their child there if it wasn’t a cop event. This was because they felt it was too dangerous to let their child play in the park.”
‘Matters of Sports Athletic League’ was created with two primary objectives; fill the void left by the absence of certain sports in the community and help to cement a positive relationship between the community, and members of law enforcement and other members of service. The founders of MOS understand that the strength of any community relies on the unity of the people who occupy that community and that young people are an essential part of the equation.
The league includes registrations for 180 boys and girls, ages 14-19, and is a 10-week program that offers a variety of sports during each period. Additionally, motivational speakers, scholarships, academic assistance and other resources are made readily available to the young people who participate. Each game offers an empowering message for young people to take with them long after the activities are over. In fact, ‘MOS’ lives by the motto of “One family, One team.” Essentially, each player has an understanding that despite the fact that they play on different teams that they are all connected as one.
MOS measures the success of the program by both attendance and the eagerness of the players to come back. The league wants to inspire young people to believe in themselves, and their goals, and to show them that they are always ‘good enough’ through positive reinforcement. The athletic league firmly believes that they have a responsibility to help young people grow both physically and emotionally in a healthy and safe manner. Since sports is universal, MOS, and its members, believe that such activities can be used to help foster stronger community relationships.
One of the driving forces behind the success of MOS is the strength of its volunteers, which includes off-duty NYPD officers, FDNY firefighters, EMS workers, teachers, students, and various other professionals. MOS not only allows them to provide a safe space for young people, but gives these volunteers the opportunity to better understand each other’s professions. MOS is not just an acronym for “Matters of Sports”, but it also gives meaning to “Members of Service” as the volunteers all come from professions that serve and contribute to their communities. This season MOS partnered with John Sanchez and Community Board 6 to continue the mission of developing and empowering young people in a safe environment.
“It’s amazing when you see kids who didn’t want to go to school, or play sports, now wanting to go to college and play sports. The parents love knowing that their kids have a safe place to be for 8 hours on a Saturday because they’re with off-duty NYPD officers, EMS workers, FDNY firefighters and so on. They couldn’t be in a safer place,” said Santana. “We love having this free program in the Bronx because a lot of parents can’t afford to pay to have their kids join other programs. Not only do we want to keep these kids safe, but we want them to have access to sports like tennis and squash that they otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to.”
Anyone wishing to find out further information about ‘Matters of Sports Athletic League’ (MOS) can contact Rosaly Santana at (917) 569-7034. You can visit their website at: https://www.mattersofsports.org/ or follow them on Instagram at Matters Of Sports (@matters_of_sports) • Instagram photos and videos