When Lauren DiFiore first set foot into Friars Club, little did she know that it would be the beginning of a profoundly impactful journey. As a sophomore at Xavier University, her friend’s suggestion to coach a winter league during the 2016-2017 season ignited her passion for volunteering and rekindled her love for the sport. Today, Lauren is an integral part of the Friars Club family, dedicating her time and expertise year-round.
Reflecting on her coaching journey, Lauren acknowledges the remarkable transformation she has experienced since her early days as a coach. Her motivation has evolved, fueled not only by her love for basketball but also by her unwavering belief in Friars Club’s mission and the values it instills in the children.
As a volunteer coach, Lauren’s day-to-day responsibilities vary depending on the season and the age group she works with. She invests considerable time at the beginning of each season to assess her players’ skill levels, tailoring practice plans and researching new drills to foster their development. Lauren’s commitment extends beyond the court, as she actively communicates with parents, setting expectations and creating a supportive and enriching experience for everyone involved.
“Watching the kids that I’ve coached move from season to season is so rewarding,” . “There are some kids I coached when they were in the 2nd grade and then again in the 8th grade. Nothing beats the feeling of watching a player you’ve coached all season (or multiple seasons) make their first basket. It reminds me how grateful I am to have the opportunity to be in this role. Getting to be a constant figure in their lives is such an honor.”– Coach Lauren
Volunteering at Friars Club has presented its share of challenges for Lauren, particularly in terms of patience and effectively communicating with children. “I never knew I lacked patience until I coached 10 five-year-olds by myself!” Lauren admits. However, she has overcome these obstacles by learning from seasoned coaches, especially Athletic Director Parrish Ozias, whose expertise and guidance have been invaluable. Lauren aspires to be the type of coach Parrish is, as she observes his ability to teach and communicate fundamentals effectively.
On a personal level, Lauren’s involvement with Friars Club has refined her communication, leadership, and organizational skills. Each season brings new lessons and opportunities for improvement, whether it’s working with players, mentoring student volunteers, or effectively relaying information to parents.
One of Lauren’s favorite stories to tell is how Friars Club helped her land her job. During the 2020-2021 winter season, one of the players she coached had a parent working in the same industry as her. That parent offered her an interview for a position, and the rest, as they say, is history. Lauren attributes many experiences and lessons learned to Friars Club, but finding a job she loves tops the list.
When asked for her advice to potential volunteers, Lauren’s enthusiasm is palpable. She wholeheartedly encourages anyone considering joining Friars Club to seize the opportunity without hesitation. The rewards of coaching and being part of this tight-knit community are unparalleled. From the supportive staff and state-of-the-art facilities to the kind-hearted kids, passionate coaches, and committed families, Friars Club is a place where she has found belonging and fulfillment.
“Coaching at Friars has, without a doubt, been the most rewarding experience of my life,” Lauren says. “Whether you join to work with the kids or because you love basketball, I guarantee you will not regret it. The staff at Friars is so organized and helpful, and the facility is spectacular. There is no other place I would rather spend my weekday evenings or Saturday mornings.”– Coach Lauren
As an outsider to Cincinnati, Lauren recognizes the significance of community and the vital role Friars Club plays in providing that sense of belonging. The gymnasium, brimming with familiar faces and warm greetings, has become her sanctuary and second home. She firmly believes that there is no better organization to entrust your child’s development and growth.
“Walking into the gym on any given day and knowing the majority of kids and parents is an incredible feeling,” Lauren shares. “Over the years, my mom has attended several of my weekend games while visiting, and she always makes a point of saying that if I grew up in Cincinnati, she would have liked to send me to a program like this. The facility is great, the kids are kind to each other, the coaches are passionate, and the families are committed. I could not think of a better organization to send your child to!”– Coach Lauren
Lauren DiFiore’s journey as a volunteer coach at Friars Club stands as a testament to the transformative power of giving back. Through her selfless dedication, she has not only impacted the lives of countless young athletes but also found her own sense of purpose and community. Friars Club and its vibrant community continue to thrive, thanks to the unwavering commitment of volunteers like Lauren, who embody the true spirit of service and our core values.