This edition of the Mountie Spotlight features Mt. SAC Assistant Coach Laron Brown-Cockrell and his life within the foster care system. Brown-Cockrell, in his second season with the mighty Mounties Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Program, serves as the programs horizontal jumps coach (long jump, triple jump).
The driving force behind this this young coach and father, is his unique experience being a part of the foster care system for over two decades. Cockrell-Brown spent 12 years of his childhood in the system and later switched roles in the system that raised him, as a Case Manager and Resource Coordinator for nine and a half years.
Mt. SAC Sports Publicist Kenny Walter (KW) sat down with Cockrell-Brown (CB) to discuss his experience with the foster care system and its impact on him personally and in his coaching career.
KW - How has being a part of the foster care system as a youth affected you?
CB - Looking back, being a part of the foster care system has provided me with many opportunities. I grew up in bad poor neighborhoods and my family structure was just as bad. The system affected me to the point where it made me realize how much I did not want to go back to where I came from. More so, it made me strive for a better life and instilled in me the mindset to succeed.
KW - What did you learn from working in the foster care system?
CB - As a Case Manager, then Resource Coordinator, I learned to get over my phobia of the foster care system. Growing up I never wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to put it all behind me and be a "regular" kid. Working at Orangewood (Orangewood Foundation: Foster & Community Youth Services / Orange, California) not only helped me develop as a professional, but more importantly I was able to grow as a man, in the right direction. My experience there and working in the community from where I came from was humbling and necessary. I'm thankful for everything I was introduced to there and for the opportunity to really change my life and way of thinking.
KW – How has being part of the foster care system helped you with your coaching career?
CB - It has helped my coaching career tremendously. I have dealt with such a wide range of personalities and character traits in young adults. I learned many life aspects working at Orangewood and can apply them to coaching, at this level, with my athletes. Once the athlete leaves the field, it's back to "life" (i.e, school, work, home life, social life, etc.). Student athletes need guidance on the field and off the field, the same as a disadvantaged youth. They may be in different spectrums; however, they all need help and resources and that is where I come in.
CLICK HERE to view Brown-Cockrell’s complete bio.
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