Editor’s Note: “Doing Good” is The Southwester’s newest monthly column. Have someone in mind who is making an impact in our community? Please send your articles to email@example.com.
Helping others has always been very important to the Hines family. As a result of their passion and commitment, Ronald and April Hines have given their adult lives to the youth of Southwest in ways that are second to none. In times when our youth can find it hard to resist the temptations of negative social distractions (drugs, alcohol, school truancy, etc.), the Hines couple has striven to keep the male and female youth of Southwest focused on becoming productive people in society.
Horse, as he is known in the community, is the guru volunteer within the SW community. He is best known for his commitment to the schools and recreation centers. At Jefferson Middle School he mentors, counsels, and assists the staff and faculty with issues from anti-social behaviors to leadership recommendations amongst the students. Coach Horse also doubles as the baseball coach and assistant coach of the boys basketball team. While already giving so much of his time at the school, Coach Horse also volunteers as the Little League and Senior League baseball coach at our local King-Greenleaf Recreation Center. Prior to coaching at Jefferson, he spent eight years coaching football teams at the #4 Boys/Girls Club (now defunct) and King-Greenleaf Recreation Center. In addition, over the past five years he has lead the 12 & under boys basketball team to the city-wide playoffs. And, just when you’d think he’s done it all, he has been the Jefferson Middle School’s head football coach for the past eight years– finally winning the City Championship after five attempts.
Coach Horse has developed an outstanding rapport with the youth and parents in the Southwest community. On any given day you can witness him making vital home visits and picking up as well as dropping off kids after a game or special trip to the movies or Wizards games. I have often posed the question of why he gives back so much without complaint. His answer was not surprising: “Our kids today are exposed to lots of negative indicators, from social media and television displays of sexism, to fast food and its connection with youth obesity. A lot of these kids come from single parent families and it takes a whole village to make sure our kids are given the same opportunities as I had to prepare for adulthood.”
April Hines has been equally known in the community as she nurtures our young ladies with a mother’s delight. She too has volunteered at in Southwest’s schools and recreation centers by mentoring and coaching the female basketball and softball teams. Miss April, as she is known by the youth, shares the same passion for sports with her husband, which has lead her to become one of the city’s best female basketball officials. During basketball season you can catch her at the local high schools officiating top area boy/girl basketball games. At the recent first annual All City-State Championship games held at the Verizon Center, she was the official scorer. April has developed female programs that lecture teens on positive decision-making. She has engages teens in subject areas from developing social skills to parenting skills. Over the years April has help guided countless young ladies and men through high school and many on to college. Her all-girls outings are outstanding events that expose community youth to environmental and nature awareness through weekend camping trips. When tickets come available, April always welcomes the opportunity to engage a group of young ladies on a trip to the movies. It’s her belief that kids feel most comfortable while participating in such activities and are more likely be open to discussing teen issues, such as bullying. April believes that regardless of the adults’ opinions on teen issues, as parents there is one point on which we should all agree: no person should be subject to the hostility and hate that many teens are forced to endure via bullying. As parents, all can agree that children deserve our unconditional love, and they must be taught to treat everyone with kindness.
Ronald and April have been married for over 25 years. Coach Horse is a recently retired DC Fire Fighter of twenty-plus years and April is a US Postal worker. They are the proud parents of three sons, two of whom followed in their fathers footsteps and became Fire Fighters. Coach Horse has also guided several former sports players and Southwest residents to seek out careers as Fire Fighters (T.O. Williams, Jarvis Hopkins, Raymond Brown, Perrier Mays, Marcel Bolden, the late Kobe Mercer, and many others). There is a profound twist to this couple’s ability to give back to the community. Over the years they have opened up the doors of their home for the kids in the Southwest community for overnight gatherings, as well as fostered over 15 kids in their home, and they recently adopted a son. Their example of giving back to the Southwest community should be a inspirational motivator for all parents to volunteer and multiply such efforts. It is with pleasure that we honor these community heroes as they gracefully carry out the work of saving our kids.
By Wallace Perry, Retired Roving leader