Arthur ashe leadership award Rohun Krishnan | Pomona-Pitzer

arthur ashe leadership award

At the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year, Rohun went to Head Coach Steve Bickham and asked if he could start a chapter of the nationally recognized Aces for Autism program at our college. He had previously volunteered for the program at his high school and had stayed in touch with the national director of the program. Bickham agreed to help, but quickly realized that Rohun didn’t need my help. Within a few weeks Rohun had contacted the organization and applied for a Charter. He met with the Pomona-Pitzer Athletic Director, campus events coordinator, and did all the paperwork that was needed and was able to get the program approved and scheduled to start that fall.

As most coaches know, getting things set-up and scheduled is one thing, but putting things together on the ground, finding the volunteers, and contacting all of the families who would be taking part is a bigger task. Rohun and his teammate, Matthew Feng, start contacting everyone they could to find Autistic kids who would benefit from the program. They found about 7 or 8 kids initially and thru word of mouth and the autism network of families, the program grew rapidly. Now they have over 20 participants and work with the kids and their families on Sundays throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Rohun and Matt are both seniors, and initially there was concern that the program would fall apart after they graduated from Pomona College. But through their hard work, they have had both the men’s and women’s programs helping them as coaches and they have been able to train and designate the next group of leaders so that this incredible program will continue.

What is the most impressive part of this story, is that it was entirely created, developed, and managed by Rohun and his friend Matt. The Pomona-Pitzer coaches have not had to do a thing to keep the program running and/or help find volunteers. The student-athletes run the program on Sundays, typically the day that most students want to rest and recover from their week of studying and competing, but these guys spend their Sundays dedicated to making the program work.