A group of siblings has been making a difference in the lives of youngsters for years as youth coaches at Suwilaawks Community School.
Steven Kunar, 21, has been coaching basketball at the school for five years. His sister Selena, 18, has been coaching at the school for seven, and little brother Ryan, 13, just finished his first year as an assistant coach to his sister in volleyball and his brother in basketball.
“I had good coaches when I was younger, I wanted to be a good role model,” says Steven on why he got into coaching at the school.
Selena’s opinions were similar – giving back and helping younger kids learn.
“The learning, and the looks on their faces, that is what keeps me going,” said Selena, who has coached volleyball, basketball and badminton for the school.
For Ryan, it was his first year as a coach and he plans to pick up where his brother and sister leave off, as both ready to leave Terrace next year to continue their studies.
“It’s fun just talking with the kids,” Ryan said, explaining as he himself just learned many of the skills taught in practice, he is able to relate to what the students are feeling when they get frustrated.
Recently the Grade 6 and 7 boys and girls basketball teams tipped off on a year-ender competition – Steven and Ryan coaching the boy’s team and Selena coaching the girls.
Selena said they talk amongst each other about coaching tips and tricks to try to help each other out.
“We all play on an even playing field, we are all very respectful,” Selena said.
Steven and Ryan had a successful season on the courts as their boys basketball team went undefeated.
Selena said her girls team also had a good season, with about two losses.
As all three coaches are graduates of Suwilaawks, where their father attended as well, they say there is a strong connection to the school.
Vice-principal Roberta Clarke said that elementary sports coaches can be hard to find.
“The Kunars have never once turned us down,” Clarke said, adding they ‘didn’t even bat an eyelash’ before saying yes to helping out this year.
“They are setting a huge example, a positive one for young people in our community.”
The Kunars’ mother, Rav, was also a presence at Suwilaawks this year, stopping by practices with treats or oranges or taking time off work to drive students to basketball games.
She encouraged other high school-aged students to head back to their elementary schools and lend a hand in sports.
“They (elementary aged students) really need someone that is in high school they can look up to as a role model, and I think that is what these kids have done for them,” said Rav Kunar.