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Life & Work with Wes Trammell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wes Trammell. 

Hi Wes, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’m a former college hooper (GVSU) that has always wanted to give back to the community and the game. I tried coaching and other things but wanted to do something different. 

The Chosen Ones started as a content-based organization that helped student-athletes get more exposure through highlight videos. We would travel to games, practices, workout sessions, etc. to film these players and post their highlights on our social media pages. We did this for about 4 years until we felt that it was time to pivot. 

Even though it was fulfilling helping athletes get more exposure, I wanted something deeper. That is how The Chosen Academy (TCA) came about. The Chosen Academy is a non-profit organization that brings basketball skills training and mental health groups to teenage basketball players in the Grand Rapids area. 

Our ideal student-athlete is the one who may come from a low-income home, a single-parent home or a student that would be an eventual first-generation college student. 

The goal of TCA is to provide not only quality basketball training. It also give student-athletes a safe space to share their struggles with like-minded individuals and to learn how to navigate through the challenges that life brings. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
This has not been a smooth road. There has been a lot of days where I wanted to quit. I almost did on a few occasions. But the people in my life wouldn’t let me. I have my wife, Bri, to thank because she’s been more supportive of me than anyone! 

When I wanted to quit, I had to re-evaluate things. What are my values? What motivates me and gives me life? The answer to that is relationships and mentoring the youth, especially athletes. That’s why I decided to pivot to TCA and it has been my best decision yet. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My day job is working as a Campus Recruiter at Steelcase. My task is mainly to recruit students to work in our internship program and plan and coordinate intern events. Last summer, we had about 130 interns here in Grand Rapids! 

My true passion is The Chosen Ones. We have to major projects that we’re working on: 

The first is The Chosen Podcast. There we interview the area’s best basketball players, college coaches, and trainers. The show was for student-athletes to learn from their peers about what makes them successful as players and how they deal with challenges. Soon, we’ll be making episodes that are catered to parents, as we’ll be interviewing more college coaches and parents that have raised successful student-athletes. We just want to be a resource for the sports community in Grand Rapids! We are available on YouTube, the Apple Podcast App, and Spotify. 

Viewers may see our show here: 

Next is the Chosen Academy. 

The Chosen Mentality Program’s mission is to provide affordable basketball skills training and group mental health counseling to athletes from low-income households in Grand Rapids. 

This will be a year-round program, and we want to help cover the cost of as we bring in skills trainers and certified mental health counselors to facilitate groups. 

We will cover a variety of mental health topics such as: anxiety, depression, the effects of social media (comparison), coping skills, and more. 

The Chosen Academy will give student-athletes a chance to have a safe space and community to be vulnerable. Our goal is to fight the stigma of mental health in the black and brown community, as well as the athletic community. 

TCA is a different type of atmosphere. It is an encouraging environment where student-athletes can be themselves, support each other, and have a safe space to share about life’s challenges. We have real conversations that bring clarity, laughter, and sometimes tears. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Brianna Trammell

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