Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
Prior to participating in the Red Bank Future Bucs youth sports program last summer, Gabriella (Gabby) Lopez of Red Bank was completely unfamiliar with the sport of volleyball. She soon grew to enjoy the high-energy game and became dedicated to mastering it — and when she became a student at Red Bank Regional High School, she tried out for and won a place on the RBR freshmen volleyball team, despite spraining her ankle days before.
The rising RBR sophomore had always taken part in sports through middle school, and always enjoyed working out in the gym doing cardio, weight-training and high-intensity kick-boxing. What Gabby also discovered was that she loved helping others learn and enjoy sports.
Gabby volunteered to coach softball in her town’s recreational league this summer, as well the Little Silver recreational summer softball clinic. She took on a summer job as a camp counselor at the Red Bank Salvation Army, guiding younger children through recreational activities. Despite her busy schedule, on Sunday nights throughout July and August, Gabby coached the Red Bank Future Bucs’ volunteer volleyball program, which is organized by Red Bank Community youth leaders David Prown and Enrico Ciabattoni.
When Prown reached out to her this year for some assistance, Gabby was only too happy to pay it forward. Prown and Ciabattoni, who perennially support Red Bank’s youth, were also able to acquire essential new knee pads for the players through generous community donations. They as well as the RBR’s incoming volleyball coach are on hand to help out in the volleyball sessions, but Prown is clear that this is “Gabby’s show.”
“The Red Bank Middle school and Charter School do not offer a volleyball program, so these kids have no idea what the sport is about,” says Prown. “Gabby organizes the program in teaching them the fundamentals of the game and its nomenclature. Therefore, they can see if they like it. And if they want to try out for the high school freshman team, they will be much better prepared.”
Incoming freshman Stacy Osorio will be among those following in Gabby’s footsteps. She intends to try out for a high school team sport of which she had absolutely no knowledge of just a few weeks before.
“Gabby really relates to the kids, as not too long ago she was a student among them,” adds Prown. “She is successful because she keeps it simple…she really engages them.”