ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. – It’s a team sport that’s been a part of Mykeia Thomas’ whole life.
From a student-athlete in high school and college to now coach, Thomas is passing along the game of volleyball and setting up young women for empowerment and success.
Thomas started St. Clair County Volleyball Club for girls who might not be able to afford the traditionally expensive club experience.
“It’s volleyball, yes, but really, it’s about the teaching of life through that court,” Thomas said.
“Because even when you’re on the court, it’s really not about you. It’s about who you can serve and how can you help your team. And then we put that back into the world, who can you serve and how can you help this world be better.”
In celebration of Black history month, AT&T began a promotion called “Black Future Makers.”
When Thomas heard that AT&T was looking for 10 Black future makers who are shaping the now, the new, and the next – she entered the contest for her camp, mind over muscle.
“One of the reasons I started my club specifically because there were a lot of people who were underserved who couldn’t afford it,” Thomas said.
“I coached for quite a few clubs where the ticket price was over $2,500 or $3,000. And I was like, ‘how can I do this to make it affordable?’ ”
Often paying out of her own pocket, when Thomas heard she was set to receive $10,000 towards her volleyball club and camps, she was over the net.
Thomas is looking for girls 10-17 years of age wanting to play volleyball to come to tryouts this weekend. Her Facebook page, St. Clair County Volleyball Club, has details about the next camp, mind over muscle, where she’ll be encouraging young women to use their minds, their muscles, and dream big.
“Depressed, keep showing up. Struggling, keep showing up. No money, keep showing up. And if nothing else, just to inspire entrepreneurs that if nothing else, you may not see it today,” Thomas said.
“But nothing that you plant in the ground comes up tomorrow. You have to keep showing up and watering your dreams so that people can believe in you because you’re consistent and they can believe in you because you’re resilient.”