By Jon Allen, AfterZone Site Coordinator for Nathan Bishop
Left to Right: Missy Santos and her daughters Emma and Elliesha
For nearly 3 years, Missy Santos has been the program provider for Ocean State CrossFit Kids at Nathan Bishop Middle School. In those years, Missy has become a beloved provider by youth and staff alike. Her work ethic and dedication to youth programming is always above and beyond and often times will reach Herculean levels—something I can only assume is connected to her CrossFit routine.
When Missy heard that the Nathan Bishop AfterZone site was looking for new program support staff members, she encouraged her oldest daughter Elliesha to apply—an idea I was particularly excited about knowing Missy and knowing how much the youth loved and connected to her. I figured their love for Missy and excitement about the program would enable Elliesha to easily connect with them and vice versa.
Upon meeting her, I was pleasantly surprised to come find another CrossFitian work ethic that I thought was unique to Missy and despite the fact that Elliesha didn’t come with a longstanding background in youth development, she was extremely interested in learning and quickly incorporated herself into the culture of the AfterZone and wholeheartedly dedicated herself to youth work.
Suffice it to say, the youth loved her and continue to connect with her. She even has a following of students that will choose to sit quietly next to her.
Eventually, Missy’s youngest daughter began accompanying her mom to the program, and apparently the CrossFitian work ethic runs deep, because despite not being a staff member, Emma worked just as hard helping Missy with the program. She also started hanging out with the other students, and has become an integral and beloved member of the AfterZone team and youth community.
When Missy walks into the school, she’s greeted by a troupe of AfterZone youth hugs, when Emma joins her, she receives the same treatment, and when Elliesha comes to work she’s similarly bombarded.
It’s the first time I’ve witnessed three generations of student bear hugs!
Thank you so much, Missy, Emma, and Elliesha for all that you do every day, and for expanding the idea of what an afterschool community can look like!