From his passion for basketball to his career in physiotherapy, positive mentorships have played a huge part in Kevin Wilsonâ€™s life, which is why he is giving back through the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program Inc.
â€śGrowing up, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by mentors my whole life. My first basketball coach mentored me for years and developed my love for the game of basketball. When I broke my patella at 12 years old, my physiotherapist inspired me to pursue the field of physiotherapy; he would go on to mentor me for years as I completed over 300 volunteer hours within his clinic,â€ť said Kevin. â€śAlthough both have unfortunately passed away, their teachings, passion and dedication to my development has not gone in vain.â€ť
Kevin enrolled in Fleming Collegeâ€™s Fitness and Health Promotion program as the first step in his education journey, because this diploma prepares many graduates to pursue a degree in Kinesiology. Kevinâ€™s long-term academic goal is to earn a degree in Physical Therapy.
â€śOverall, I had a great experience at Fleming College,â€ť said Kevin. â€śAs a student athlete on the varsity basketball team, I loved the fact that the FHP professors were so understanding of my athletic responsibilities. I have nothing but great things to say about the college, the student life, and the professors within the FHP program.â€ť
Kevin credits the program with challenging students to apply theoretical knowledge within a practical setting, as well as providing the necessary tools to be a successful healthcare professional.
â€śWhether you decide to work as a personal trainer or decide to continue with more schooling, the knowledge received in this program will be utilized for many years following graduation,â€ť said Kevin, who graduated from Fleming in 2014. â€śTo put things into perspective, I am still using the majority of what I was taught in the FHP program.â€ť
After Fleming College, Kevin attended Brock University for Kinesiology and started his own personal training and physical rehabilitation business.
â€śThe FHP program at Fleming gave me the confidence needed to start my own business,â€ť he said. â€śI wanted to learn more about what it takes to successfully run and manage my own business, and I wanted to earn some income while in school to assist with tuition costs, living expenses, etc. Although not yet a physiotherapist, I wanted to create my own brand and to establish myself as a healthcare professional. I understand the value and benefits of being self-employed, and I hope to enjoy these benefits throughout my entire working career.â€ť
Kevin graduated from Brock University in 2017 and in January of this year he started the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program (NBYMP) to give back and to promote overall success and health, which is something Kevin views as important as both a future physiotherapist and as a human being.
â€śI plan to influence the lives of as many youth as possible, similar to how my mentors have influenced my life,â€ť said Kevin. â€śThere are many youth who struggle to find the resources needed to be successful and I hope that, through my program, they can find their path and purpose in life.â€ť
NBYMP is a national youth mentorship program that aims to provide a holistic approach to personal development for basketball athletes under the age of 19. Youth enrolled in this newly-formed program will have access via email to mentorship from high-level Canadian professional and university basketball athletes, online academic assistance from students and graduates of Harvard University, financial advising and development from licensed financial advisors; and access to strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, and sports psychologists. Registration is free, but basketball camps, workshops and academic tutoring do have associated fees.
â€śMy hope is that hundreds, and eventually thousands, of kids utilize this mentorship program to achieve great things, both on and off the basketball court. I hope to provide full scholarships for dozens of youth entering college/university programs, and I hope to use this platform to promote the overall health and wellness of youth and individuals across Canada.â€ť
Kevin said his advice to current Fleming FHP students is to soak in all the information, ask their professors lots of questions, and to set long-term goals.
â€śI will be going back to school this September (2018) to study physiotherapy and this was something that I planned to do even while at Fleming,â€ť he said. â€śSet a long-term goal and use that as motivation to get you through this program and future programs or ventures.â€ť