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  • Peter Miller

SGG #91: Milwaukee’s “Uncle” Rick Polk creates space for voices to be heard


We continue learning about youth sports and the leaders who shape opportunity. In and beyond the school walls, Uncle Rick Polk inspires the community and grows the good!

Rick Polk is the athletic director at Vincent High School in Milwaukee. He also started the OWN IT mentoring program that aims to support young people in the community and beyond. He’s positively impacted thousands of young people and families over the years. In this SGG episode, we discussed:

1. Learning life virtues from his parents and other adults.

2. Growing up on 23rd and Locust in Milwaukee: “It was a village.”

3. The playground at Emmaus Lutheran Church: “That’s where the village started.”

4. The life-long benefits of sports.

5. The joy that “two free throws” made by a child instilled a deeper awareness of how much sports mean to young people.

6. Helping give kids voice: “The small things can go so far in life.”

7. Directing a youth sports program that offers new sports to kids.

8. The Growing Up Milwaukee documentary that tells the story of youth in the city and shows how Rick creates space for their voices.

9. How he became known as “Uncle Rick.”

10. His “OWN IT” mentoring group.

11. His journey through difficult life challenges…and the origins of OWN IT.

12. The importance of bringing the community together.