Sophomore runner Reuben Winston (Potomac, Md./Charles E. Smith) is driven to lead others to the finish line. Growing up in the Washington D.C. area, Winston developed a passion for sports and service. He loves to connect people, be active, and see others succeed.
After a successful first year of cross country and track and field, Winston has taken Dickinson's commitment to community service to heart by combining his passions into an internship with D.C. based non-profit Athletes for Hope, aligning with some of the top activists in professional sports. He checked in with Assistant Athletic Director Christian Payne, to share with Red Devil Nation about his positive experiences, and goal to provide community service platforms through athletics.
CP: Reuben, congrats on your internship with Athletes for Hope. Share with Red Devil Nation about Athletes for Hope.
RW: Athletes for Hope is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 by professional athletes including Muhammad Ali, Mia Hamm, Andre Agassi, and Cal Ripken, Jr. The goal of the organization is to connect athletes with charities and allow them the opportunity to give back to the community.
CP: Why were you passionate about connecting with Athletes for Hope? Share some details about your service experiences.
RW: Growing up, I always loved both giving back to the community and sports. In 9th grade, originally to satisfy my school's community service requirement, I was paired with a special needs buddy. Because of my rigorous sports and academic schedules, I was unable to hang out with him during the organization's typical gathering times. Instead, we worked around that and I worked with him one on one. Since then I have spent countless hours with him, even going to amusement parks and snow tubing resorts together. I still spend time with him now.
CP: What are projects you are working on this summer?
RW: I am working on several projects at the moment. The project that consumes most of my time is fairly simple. For the past month I have been reaching out to various charities on behalf of specific athletes and getting the athletes involved in their communities.
CP: What is your personal mission?
RW: I want to gain experience in this field and learn from people that have been at it for a while. On top of that, I want to help athletes make a difference and impact their communities. I have seen the influence these people have on society and I believe that there is never enough that you can do to give back.
CP: What is your dream job?
RW: I am not really sure what my dream job is, but it would certainly be awesome to work here at Athletes for Hope after Dickinson, or at a similar job. I want to work somewhere where my impact is felt.
CP: Is there an athlete or a team you have looked up to as positive example for community service and advocacy? Why?
RW: LeBron James has always been someone who I have looked up to. His work ethic on the basketball court combined, with what he does in his community and with his family foundation is amazing. These community activities and his raw athletic talent make him someone who I have constantly been able to look up to and admire.
CP: In your opinion, what's the most important issue athletes can stand up for and support right now?
RW: There are so many things that athletes can support. I believe that people should help in the fields that they are educated in, or where they can make an impact. All of the athletes that we work with at Athletes for Hope are extremely athletic; that is a given! One thing that they can all do is help get kids get outside and move. Obesity in children and adults is a growing issue in America. Athletes as role models have an opportunity to inspire both children and adults to move, eat right, and be fit.
CP: How has your Dickinson student-athlete experience prepared you for this opportunity with Athletes for Hope? What parallels do you draw from running to your work?
RW: Although being a Division III student-athlete is much different than being a professional, it has allowed me to somewhat walk in these athletes' shoes and generally connect with them as people and hard-working athletes.
CP: What advice would you have for another Dickinson student-athlete early in their career?
RW: My main piece of advice both as both an athlete and as an intern would be "just stick with it." It takes time to gain the confidence of your co-workers and clients, but once you do everything improves. Athletic and work ethics are not much different. In any sport, and in the office, patience, hard work, and integrity are the three keys to success. Throughout a career you will need both patience and determination, plus good sportsmanship is key. It will not always be easy. In the end it will always be worth it. As Coach (Don) Nichter always says, "Be big!"
CP: What's next for you?
RW: I will be working at Athletes for Hope throughout the summer, and plan to travel briefly before returning to Dickinson for our pre-season cross country training in mid- August.
Learn more about Athletes for Hope
Dickinson student-athletes - share about your internship with Red Devil Nation! Use #DsonIntern and connect with our social media.
To share your internship story, please contact Christian Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org