Local officer volunteers at rec center

Local officer  volunteers at rec center
February 08
04:00 2018

Tanya Purdie has been an officer with the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) for nearly nine years.  Officer Purdie not only has a heart to serve her community but she also enjoys giving back to children by coaching the Sedge Garden Panthers in the Elite League at W.R. Anderson Community Center.

The Fayetteville native is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU).  She says she initially went to school to become a lawyer but after having a child in her sophomore year, her priorities changed.

As graduation from WSSU approached, she thought of a way to make a living while also staying close to her original idea of becoming a lawyer.  She says the thought of becoming a police officer just stood out.

While attending WSSU she volunteered regularly at W.R. Anderson because of freshman requirements.  She enjoyed her time at the center so much she has been there ever since.

“I volunteered at the rec during my freshman year and I just never left,” she said.  “I have been there since I have been 18 and I enjoy every minute of it.”

This is the first year Purdie has coached in the Elite League at the rec center.  She says W.R. Anderson Senior Supervisor Bryant McCorkle reached out to her and she was glad to participate.  Even with a young family, a full-time job and going to school, she still finds the time to coach.  She is one of only three female head coaches at the center.

“Coaching is still in the realm of volunteering, you know,” said Purdie.  “No one is getting paid for it and I always thought I could coach, so now I am just gonna try my hand at it.”

Purdie says she has always enjoyed sports since she was a child.  She played basketball throughout high school but gave up her dream once she graduated.  As an adult she has also led young ladies with skill development training, so coaching was always on the radar.

She says her 11 and under team is going through some tough times right now.  With this being a new team along with the deep competition at the rec center, it will take some time to bring everyone together.

“William R. Anderson has a tough league with all of the competition this year,” she continued.  “This is basically a brand new team that I am coaching and some kids on my team have never played basketball before.”

For Purdie she says she would love to win every time they step out onto the court.  She realizes the most important thing is to make sure her kids are learning every time they practice or play a game.

“I did not realize how emotionally invested you become doing something like coaching,” Purdie said.  “At first my goal was to go out there and win every game but that wasn’t a realistic goal because of the hurdles we  had to go over.”

Purdie says the parents of her players have been very helpful in her first season as coach.  Since many of them have been around the league for years they have been instrumental with helping her along the way.

Over the years in the WSPD Purdie has worked in many areas of the department.  Her time as an SRO (Student Resource Officer) at the high school level has helped her with relating to her kids on the team.

“I can’t be how I am on the streets with how I deal with the children here at the center,” she said.  “I consider myself to be pretty young and I have children around the same age so it is a little bit easier for them to relate to me.”

Purdie says the season has not totally gone the way she initially expected, but she has noticed the kids have gotten better.  She says her plans are to continue to coach at the center for years to come.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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