Wyoming

 


Gameplan: A Game-Changer for Tri-State High School Students


By Cynthia Smith

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  • Troy Tuck speaking during a school assembly at Taft Information Technology High School. Troy Tuck speaking during a school assembly at Taft Information Technology High School.
  • Troy with participants in a motivational program he led at the Friars Club. Troy with participants in a motivational program he led at the Friars Club.
  • The Tuck family lives in Wyoming and Troy started Gameplan. Left to right: TJ, Troy, Monica, and Corinne. The Tuck family lives in Wyoming and Troy started Gameplan. Left to right: TJ, Troy, Monica, and Corinne.
     


Troy Tuck started Gameplan Foundation 2015 with a simple idea: to help at-risk student-athletes see possibilities for their lives.
Fifty-one schools and 20,000 students later, the non-profit has evolved into a game-changer for all kinds of students from all kinds of backgrounds. What started as a motivational speaking series now follows up, “after the light bulb goes on,” says Troy, Founder and President, with weekly mentoring, after-school events, financial responsibility workshops, resume-writing classes, college application help and more.
Partnering with organizations such as First Generation Leaders of America (FGLA) and Social Media Awareness, Responsibilities, and Training (SMART), Gameplan provides a menu of services to schools, free of charge, with a goal of Inspiring + Preparing individuals through personal life Experiences + Stories.
“If someone just like them made it, they can make it.”
The speakers and mentors are often from the same neighborhood as the students, and share trials, tribulations, mistakes, and triumphs. “It helps students begin to see a path for themselves,” explains Troy.

“If someone just like them made it; they can make it.”

Don Newberry, the Athletic Director of the Taft Information Technology High School, puts it like this: “We have kids without the ability to dream. Gameplan comes in with positive role models who help these students see themselves in bigger situations than their current lives; they realize they are connected to a broader world...”

Beyond Ohio
This summer, Gameplan heads to Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Florida to spread their gospel of Personal Development, Leadership, and Advancement Life Skills to students beyond the Cincinnati area. They will also launch Pay to Play scholarships, whereby organizations that offer summer camps and after-school enrichment can get funding for programs that dovetail with Gameplan’s goals.
“I’m like a booking agent,” jokes Troy, “matching up resources and needs.”
The idea came from Troy’s seven-year football coaching experience at Walnut Hills High School. He mentored a handful of students who “didn’t see where life could go.” He would give them rides home from practice, feed them, visit their homes. “I realized what they were up against and went to my friend Gary Croley, the Athletic Director at Princeton, to talk about what could be done.”
Troy hired a marketing firm to help spread the word once he had a game plan for Gameplan, but results were lukewarm - and expensive. Then Troy’s wife, Monica, Creative Director of Unbridled Studio, jumped in. From there, things took off, with funding from AT&T, the Gardner Family Foundation, Beacon Orthopedic, Tri-Health, and St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

A Long-Term Vision
The long-term plan is to have a brick-and-mortar space, with after-school enrichment activities, tutoring, a kitchen so students can be educated on healthy meal options, a computer lab to help students build STEM skills, speakers from trades like plumbing and welding, and a climbing wall (just for fun). Ideally, Gameplan becomes a full-time job for Troy, who now works as a medical device representative for Bd/Carefusion.
“It’s a community program,” Troy says. “Every community can benefit, because young people everywhere have many of the same challenges and temptations, whether they come from financially-stable homes or not.”

From Forest Park to Moeller to Youngstown to Wyoming

Troy grew up in Forest Park, went to Moeller High School, and then Youngstown State University, where he played linebacker on the football team. He credits his own parents and those of his closest Moeller friends - who lived in Mason and Sycamore Township - with helping him imagine and work toward a bright future.
Monica grew up in Waynesville, Ohio. She attended University of Cincinnati, and then met Troy through a friend. The couple moved to Wyoming in 2013. They have a son, age three, and a daughter, age six.
Wyoming Living readers can help Gameplan by sharing school contacts with Monica or Troy (call 513.582.4399 or email troytuck@therealgameplan.com), sponsoring individual events, applying to be a Gameplan intern, writing grants, or making donations at http://www.therealgameplan.com/donate-1/. Major public fund-raising events include a February sponsor/awareness evening and a September 5K run.
Ninety-five percent of donations go directly to Gameplan programming.

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