She is one of the friendliest and most caring individuals you will ever cross paths with, as a member of the Watts Family Maryvale YMCA.

Dawkins began her volunteer coaching career by chance. One day many summers ago, the coach for her son’s team was absent, and she took the initiative to fill his place. What she figured would be a one-game substitution turned into a new lifestyle for her and her family for years to come.

Dawkins fell in love with coaching the kids. In turn, the kids and their parents fell in love with her as a coach as well.

Season after season, Dawkins has been a reliable and positive influence for the youth that she serves through coaching. Her young athletes look to her as a role model and confide in her with both successes and challenges on and off the court.

Every season when registration opens, there seems to be a full-on battle to be among the first 10 to 12 kids to sign up on her roster. This past summer season, 25 families signed up requesting her specifically! Clearly, parents appreciate her willingness to go the extra mile for their kids.

Beyond drawing up plays or working on drills, Dawkins consistently takes time out of her day to get to know each one of the kids on her team. She will know not only all of her team members’ names but also their family members, their birthday and what school they attend. Families and parents in the Maryvale community have nothing but positive and kinds words to say about Dawkins as a person and coach.

This deeper level of engagement encourages kids to open up to her and provides a sense of family within the team unit. No doubt the kids she has coached, mentored, and led will stick together through the years playing basketball for her, as long as she remains a coach with us here at the Watts Family Maryvale YMCA.

Dawkins embodies those traits we look for in our coaches here at the Y.

It is an honor to have her volunteer with us and bring her family along to Y basketball games every weekend season after season. Any experienced coach will tell you it is challenging at times but also extremely rewarding.

When Dawkins reflects on her coaching career in 10 years and realizes how many lives she has positively impacted, we hope she will be filled with joy for the outstanding work she has done here at our Y.

Thank you, Coach Esther and the Dawkins family for all that you do!