By Guillermo Lopez, Correspondent
The Belton Chamber of Commerce officiated the foundation of the Ramonce Taylor Youth Association last Thursday with a ribbon cutting and small reception. The association focuses on providing the community of Belton with a positive mentoring environment, youth sports, and opportunities for sports tournaments that range between local, regional, and national levels. Ramonce Taylor, the organization’s founder and leader, emphasizes the need for youth mentoring to, “…teach these kids how to be great citizens and leaders.”
Using his experiences to guide him, former Texas running back hopes that the kids will learn from examples he and the other mentors embody through the organization. Ramona A. Clark, Taylor’s mother, is one of those mentors who also helps as the Event Coordinator and Vice-President of the Association. Supporting her son since his football years at Belton High, Clark was aware of how much this organization meant for Taylor: “He really shares that talent with others,” said Clark.
The association’s volunteers and mentors all follow behind Taylor’s message and hope to make as much of an impact as he has within the community. Mentors like David Ash, who has known the organization’s leader throughout high school and college, see the association as a kind of hope for both Ramonce and the community. “You build a relationship with these kids who play sports,” said Ash. The former Longhorns quarterback understands the importance of mentorship at a young age, and hopes to help both Ramonce and the association with that message, “In the end, it’s about sitting down and helping these kids make the right decisions,” said Ash.
The community has not only accepted the Youth Association but has supported its inauguration into the Belton community with pride. Lori Olivares is one of those community members who accept the organization’s message wholeheartedly: “I think we need more associations like this for the community,” explained Olivares. The mother of three understands the importance of mentorship, and believes in the association’s mission to help kids through sports and guidance, “It teaches kids discipline, knowledge of sports, dedication, and respect,” said Olivares. “It keeps kids off the streets.”
To find out more about the Ramonce Taylor Youth Association, find them on their website, http://www.rtyouthassociation.com/.
Volunteer opportunities are also available for those who want to get involved, and all programs are free for kids.