Coaching with Heart at The Practice Space

We love spring not just for its promise of new growth in nature, but also for the blossoming we witness within our programs. In this post, we're taking a moment to recognize the contributions of the many college students who serve as coaches in our programs. Thanks to them, we can reach more after-school public speaking clubs at elementary schools throughout West Contra Costa Unified. Read on to meet two of them below!

Meet Coach Jude


Coach Jude Nieves, a passionate student at UC Berkeley intending to study Sociology and Legal Studies. With a background in Key Club, Youth Court, Mock Trial, and even Water Polo and Competitive Swimming, Jude brings a diverse range of experiences to his role as a coach at The Practice Space. His enthusiasm for public speaking and debate shines through as he eagerly shares his love for fostering communication skills in young students.

Reflecting on his experience at The Practice Space, Jude highlights the transformative nature of his role, saying, "The Practice Space has shown me a completely different form of leadership that I am not used to before: a form of leadership which focuses on nurturing students, supporting their growth, and helping them enjoy their time at school. It is a challenge that I have not taken lightly, and it's one that I don't think I would have experienced if not for The Practice Space!"

Jude's own journey with public speaking has been instrumental in shaping his coaching approach. He shares, "I've always been a confident and excited public speaker, thriving behind the mic. I've been excited to apply this to public speaking because it allows me to be humble with the students and show them that even for people with public speaking experience, it's still difficult. In other words, public speaking is challenging for both the beginners and experts alike! That is what allows me to make the program lighthearted, and I am always so happy when I see the smiles on the faces of my students."

Meet Coach Genesis


Coach Genesis Green, a 2023 El Cerrito High School graduate, is pursuing a double major in Molecular and Cell Biology and Data Science at UC Berkeley. With a passion for painting, a love for playing video games, and a dedication to mastering the electric guitar, Genesis brings diverse interests to her role as a coach at The Practice Space.

Reflecting on her experience, Genesis shares, "Working at The Practice Space has been a wonderful experience for me. When I first joined the team a few months ago, I was hesitant to join so late in the school year, but Maribel and Cynthia as well as my coworkers have been incredibly kind in helping me adjust." She adds, "Since then, I've had the opportunity to improve my public speaking skills and gain valuable experience working at school sites, where I've met teachers, staff, and other students. Not only have I been able to help the kids become more confident in their speaking abilities, but I've also learned a lot from them and gained new perspectives on topics they're passionate about."

One recent success story Genesis shares involves introducing the debate to her students. She recalls, "The lead coach and I had recently introduced the concept of congressional debate to our students, and we were practicing informal debates. It was a lot of fun discussing simple topics such as homework, teachers, and playgrounds. This exercise helped me to connect with the students comically while also assisting them in developing a new skill."

Genesis's journey with public speaking has been one of perseverance and growth. She reflects, "From a young age, I struggled with public speaking and speaking in general. I had a soft-spoken voice, attended weekly speech therapy sessions, and lacked confidence in my speaking abilities during grade school." However, with the support of mentors and peers, Genesis overcame her barriers and emerged as a confident advocate. She concludes, "Now I can work with kids and help them become more confident in their speaking skills and confidence. Working with such brilliant minds who will shape our future as doctors, lawyers, and leaders is incredibly exciting."

Gratitude All Around

The stories of Coach Jude and Coach Genesis exemplify our college student coaches' significant impact on our programs at The Practice Space. Their passion for mentoring young students highlights the transformative power of public speaking and communication skills. What sets them apart is the empathy and heart they bring to every interaction, drawing from their own experiences to relate deeply to the struggles and triumphs of young speakers. We are truly grateful for the contributions of exceptional coaches like Jude and Genesis!

Scroll to Top
Skip to content