It reminds me to do things every day that make me better, and I’ve definitely learned that at CV.

When I came to The Children’s Village (CV) I was over 300 pounds, struggling with Asthma, and was at risk of getting diabetes at just 14 years old. There was a flyer up in Butler Cottage for the basketball team and I decided to try out. I was slowly starting to lose weight and feel better about myself, and when the season ended I said “OK what’s next?” Coach Eddie told me that there was a track and field team, and I told myself if I have the opportunity to do things I’ve never been able to, why not take it? The first week of practice was killing me, but I’m a competitive guy. I started working out more and getting stronger. I eventually made it to 280 pounds and was doing great with the shotput and discus. Coach Eddie was telling me that coming up next was cross country running. He thought I might love it and really get in better shape, lose the weight, and keep it off. I was hiding from him for a couple of weeks but I eventually decided to join!

It was a tough transition. But I was looking at my teammates thinking I may not be able to get faster than them, but I know I can be better than what I was. I started practicing more and more, doing pushups in between rounds, and I just started adapting really well. I’ve learned that every race is different – different course, different runners, all of that. I’m only a Freshman, but I’m learning how to win the race within me and make the right decisions to beat my previous times.

I learned so much discipline from getting access to these different sports and working with Coach Eddie. I like to write quotes myself every day to reflect. One of my favorite is “Why wait for time, because time doesn’t wait for you.” It reminds me to do things every day that make me better, and I’ve definitely learned that at CV.

I’m now down to 213 – I’ve lost 122 pounds since I came to CV. It feels amazing. I never even thought about weight loss before coming here, but now my mindset of just trying to be better and better is driving me, and I’m thinking big!

Ben is a resident at CV’s residential campus in Dobbs Ferry, NY, where young people attend Greenburgh 11 public school and have access to sports, internships, paid job opportunities, trips, and more.

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