In Experiential Learning, Journalism

BYU communications professor Kris Boyle and students Jenae Hyde and Lindsey Peterson stand with BYU Football coach Kalani Sitake and teachers from Sojourner Truth School on the team’s annual More2Life Foundation trip. (Courtesy of Kris Boyle)

BYU School of Communications students and professor Kris Boyle documented BYU Football’s work with the More2Life Foundation in Harlem

BYU School of Communications professor Kris Boyle and students Jenae Hyde and Lindsey Peterson traveled to Harlem, New York to document the BYU Football team’s annual More2Life Foundation trip. Through their hard work, Boyle and his students hope members of the greater BYU community will learn about the good their fellow Cougars are doing throughout the country.

“I don’t think that many people realize the football team does this trip. It’s amazing to see how excited the kids are to interact with the players,” said Peterson. “Nobody knows about it and they really need to.”

Jenae Hyde and Lindsey Peterson accompanied the BYU Football team to document firsthand the mutually beneficial experience for all involved. (Courtesy of Kris Boyle)

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake created the More2Life Foundation in memory of former BYU Football coach Lavell Edwards, who served a mission in Harlem with his wife in 2002 for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The foundation’s main purpose is to help disadvantaged youth through mentoring, education and athletic opportunities. More2Life has served hundreds of youth throughout the country and has motivated many more to be an influence for good.

“Think about the possibilities if you could change even just one person’s understanding of what they’re capable of,” says Sitake on the More2Life Foundation website. “Imagine if you could help them to see how powerful they can be in bringing positive change to the world. We need to get more people moving and doing good.”

Lindsey Peterson shoots B-roll for a video about the interactions between the BYU football players and the youth. (Courtesy of Kris Boyle)

Boyle and his students were able to witness and document firsthand the mutually beneficial experience for all involved. The communications team spent two days with BYU football players and coaches in Harlem filming and photographing the events and interactions between the players and those they met. 

“The work that More2Life does for these kids is amazing,” said Boyle. “They are life-changing experiences, and we felt it was important to share them. These players and coaches are doing this work on their own time — away from the football field.”

During the first day of the trip, members of the BYU Football team and communications students visited the Harlem Jets, a non-profit after-school program that strives to keep young people motivated both academically and physically. 

The second day of volunteer work for the BYU football members and communications students was spent in the classroom and on the playground at Sojourner Truth School — a school where more than 90% of the students live below the poverty line. 

At both the Harlem Jets and Sojourner Truth School, the players played and talked with the youth — all while teaching them valuable life lessons.

“It’s emotional thinking about how much the team has helped Sojourner Truth School and the Harlem Jets,” said Peterson. “These kids look up to the players and it means so much to them that BYU comes each year.”

BYU communications student and cheerleader Jenae Hyde teaches young girls from Harlem cheerleading moves. (Courtesy of Kris Boyle)

Throughout the trip, Hyde was mainly responsible for taking photos and shooting video, Peterson was in charge of shooting B-roll and Boyle helped the students with various things like lighting and audio. The trip allowed Hyde and Peterson to take their classroom knowledge from BYU and apply it to a real-world scenario.

“This, for me, brought everything together: interviewing people, recording video and working with sports. That is exactly what I want to do for a career,” said Peterson.

The content shot and edited by Hyde and Peterson will be published on the website for the new sports media journalism sequence that will launch this fall.

“Within the journalism sequence, we are trying to provide our students with experiences that take them out of the classroom and out of the lab,” said Boyle. “Specifically, in sports media, there’s more to this area than covering games, writing recaps, etc. Sports impact all areas of society and lend to rich storytelling.”

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