For his entire adult life, William Polk has given back to his community. “To be a positive influence on the lives of young people brings back positive results,” says the 13-year Teamster, a Shop Steward at the Seattle Housing Authority.
A LIFETIME OF COMMUNITY SERVICE
Polk started working with kids at the High Point Community Center when he was in his teens. He has been volunteering there ever since.
His current gig, as coach of a co-ed basketball team for kids ages 6-10, keeps him busy. During basketball season, which runs from September through April, he puts in about 80 hours a month.
A true unionist at heart, Polk has aptly-named his squad “The Teamsters.” Before tipoff of each game, his kids bellow out, “Go Teamsters!”
Polk has coached kids who have won state championships and kids who eventually wound up in the NBA. Martell Webster of the Minnesota Timberwolves played for Polk.
COMMUNITY SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
Like elsewhere in the country, many of Seattle’s High Point residents have fallen on hard times. Court fees, uniforms, trophies – it all adds up; many families can’t afford to have their kids play, Polk says.
To help offset the costs, Polk applied for support through Local 117’s community sponsorship program in 2010. Polk’s team was awarded a sponsorship by the Local 117 Executive Board later that year.
“I was so excited to get the sponsorship. I knew it would help support the youth of low-income families who want to play,” he said.
From time to time, spectators ask Polk about the Teamsters. The Teamsters empower others in the same way that I believe in empowering kids, Polk tells them.
“I tell my kids: ‘Don’t listen to people who say you can’t achieve your dreams. You can do what you want in life if you put your mind to it’.”