Coach Rekha Patterson landed in Cape to lead SEMO’s women’s basketball team in 2016, and it’s become very clear she’s a force on the court. Her Redhawks have enjoyed steady gains over the last several years, and last season took its first OVC Tournament Championship in a dozen years.
Off court, Patterson leverages her visibility, influence, and relationships to encourage those around her to serve community youth. It’s an exhortation she takes to heart as a Big Sister herself and vocal advocate of BBBS in Cape Girardeau.
In this Q&A, Coach Patterson talks about how and why she connected with Big Brothers Big Sisters; and its role in helping her become part of a new community.
What started your involvement with BBBS in Cape?
“As a single woman without children, it had been on my heart to give back to others in a very personal way for a few years. I was attending a local community event when a BBBS staff member spoke about the opportunities and I jumped on it.“
How has Big Brothers Big Sisters helped you make Cape Girardeau home?
“I feel a great responsibility as the SEMO Head Women’s Basketball Coach to become entrenched in this community and I can be involved in many community service acts, but having a Little makes me feel even more connected to Cape.”
How does being a Big compare with being a coach – and a professional, collegiate-level coach at that?
“Being a Big is about having a healthy relationship and being there through all walks of life, sometimes giving advice but definitely always having a listening ear. Potentially introducing my Little La’Kera to new experiences is also similar to what I do as acoach. What’s different is that there’s no competition to prepare for. And it’s not my job to tell my Little what to do, which I often do as a coach.”
What do you value or treasure about your relationship with your Little Sister La’Kera?
She’s very creative in engineering and design, which is not a strength of mine. When she talks about some of her classes, she describes how she enjoys designing and creating things and how she does the same thing with a video game.”