Coach Don Weis: Passion for Helping Kids and the Community
Coach Don Weis grew up in Queens, New York, where being a Mets fan and playing Little League was not only fun, it was a rite of passage. Today, Weis attributes his civic pride and volunteerism to what he learned in Little League.
Weis is now a husband and father of two, the Partner of New York Life Insurance Company’s Hudson Valley, New York office, and a proud coach and member of the Board of Directors of the Cornwall, New York, Little League.
When and where did you first play Little league?
I first played Little League back in 1978 for Hollis Bellaire Queens Village Bellerose (HBQVB) in Queens Village, New York. There was a gate in my backyard that led right to the Little League field, so needless to say, I was there seven days a week — that’s where I grew up. It was fun.
That’s Mets territory, so are you a fan?
Yeah, we were all Met fans in my neighborhood.
What memories stand out for you? Any coaches or mentors in particular?
There were a lot of great individuals. Since I was there literally seven days a week, I got to watch and play baseball all the time. I became friends with everyone on the Board of Directors and got to help out — they were all like “fathers” to me. As I got older, when I was around 10 or 11, I started to understand these coaches were all volunteers, and the passion they had for helping kids in the community.
“As I got older, I started to understand these coaches were all volunteers, and the passion they had for helping kids in the community.”
What lessons did you learn that carried over into high school, college and adulthood?
In my Little League, teamwork was a core foundation, as well as a sense of community and civic pride. We were very active doing different things in the community and that got me involved in volunteer work. I think it set the precedent for me in later years to become involved in the community and to volunteer.
Do you think it contributed to your success as a New York Life Agent and Managing Partner?
Without a doubt, 100% yes. I see the correlations on a daily basis, especially in the management role. In my position as manager, I act as a coach, helping new individuals develop and grow on their own. So I really see a big, big correlation between the sports world, especially baseball, and the partner/manager role. And being an Agent is all about being a member of a team. They’re out there doing things for themselves, but they’re part of something bigger.
Tell us about your involvement with coaching Little League.
I’ve been coaching for seven years, ever since my first son was old enough to play. This year, I’m coaching two teams in the Cornwall, New York, Little League. I’m also an active member of the Board of Directors. It’s about a sense of community and civic pride. I love working with kids. I really get a sense of accomplishment and gratification by being a part of Little League and giving back. My coaches helped me to get to where I am today, so I want the chance to do the same thing for young people today.
What are your thoughts on the Little League Sponsorship Program?
Of course, I love it because I’m a huge baseball fan and heavily involved in Little League. From what I’ve seen so far, I think it’s phenomenal. I think this is an incredible opportunity for New York Life to really show what we’re all about … helping people.
I’m looking forward to being an active part of it on both the New York Life and Little League sides. The Hudson Valley New York Life office will definitely be involved in sponsoring a few leagues this year. It’s a great way to give back to the community and help the kids. Little League is made up of a wonderful group of individuals, young men and women, who are going to be the future of our society, and, anything we do to help them grow is invaluable.