Sonoma Valley High grad new head of B&G Club sports

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Mindy Orth Neves is a local girl, through and through. Recently named the director of sports and recreation at the Sonoma Boys & Girls Clubs, she was a lauded athlete at Sonoma Valley High School from her freshman year in 1998 onward. Her favorite memories in high school had to do with her sports teams, especially volleyball and basketball.

“Having that big volleyball family was a really important part of my high school career,” Neves said.

Of course, she said she wouldn’t have done as much if it weren’t for her mentors, specifically mentioning coach Bob O’Neil, who encouraged her to play basketball in high school.

“I had a lot of mentors help me find my passion and calling in sports. That really made me want to do that for other kids and other community members,” Neves said.

After graduating in 2002, Neves dribbled her way to Kent State in Ohio with a full scholarship. After a year there, her Sonoma roots called her home and she completed her last three college years at Sonoma State University. There she continued her volleyball career, even being team captain her senior year.

Out of college, Neves married fellow SVHS grad and San Francisco policeman Tim Neves. Together they have two children, ages 8 and 5.

Still she stayed with her passion, going back to SVHS to become the head coach for all the volleyball teams. This wasn’t her first coaching job, as she began coaching at Adele Harrison her senior year, serving as its first-ever volleyball coach.

Neves also coached at the Empire Volleyball Club from 2003-09.

Still Neves wanted to teach more children, and found her calling running all the sports programs, including basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, tee ball and junior basketball, at the Boys & Girls Clubs. She also works with its after-school programs.

“I’ve definitely wanted to do this for a while and the timing couldn’t be more perfect,” Neves said. “It’s definitely a lot of work, but I’m loving it. It’s super-rewarding and my heart is so filled giving back to the community of kids we have here in Sonoma.”

Neves loves the multi-sport aspect of her job, where she is able to teach many sports to kids instead of them doing one sport year round.

According to her, a diversity of sports helps kids succeed. She knows from personal experience that playing basketball helped to boost her volleyball career.

Neves is glad for all the experiences that led her to this job. “All the volunteer hours I’ve been putting in at the high school put me in a great spot and it’s only going to help the kids that I’m influencing now,” she said.

Sports have been and always will be a big part of Neves’ life. Her husband was an all-star athlete at SVHS and was on the SRJC wrestling team. Neves’ oldest daughter attends the Boys & Girls’ Club and she has seen her grow exponentially. “Sports is definitely in the family and our kids enjoy playing sports,” Neves said.

Neves says she is very invested in the Valley and wants to encourage the community to come together and be a part of the community, especially the Boys & Girls’ Club, which, according to Neves, offers so much diversity and amazing after school programs.

“It takes a village to raise kids in Sonoma. I just want to encourage everyone to pour their hearts out into the community and especially the Boys & Girls Club, because that’s where true magic can really happen,” Neves said.

“I’m pretty passionate about helping all the kids in Sonoma, not just the kids that have the means to be able to have opportunity. I didn’t have the means without the mentors that I was influenced by.”

Neves will never forget her roots at SVHS and wants to continue to mentor as many kids as she can, as she hopes to be in her position for a very long time.

“One of my biggest pieces of advice when I was coaching at the high school was in order to help yourself, you need to be helping others. Lifting others lifts everything that you’re doing. Being on a team is definitely about being selfless and going out there and doing things for others so you can benefit. Go out there and help others and it will come back to you tenfold,” she said.

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