8.22.17

Jean Bell: A Coach, A Mentor, & A Friend

Think back to your days as an athlete, did you have a coach who inspired you? Who pushed you past your limits and made you stronger? Well Coach Jean Bell is just that person and coach to her female athletes at her track club, Jeuness in Brooklyn NY. We got a chance to sit down with Bell and learn how her role in these athletes’ lives extends way beyond the track.

Jean Bell Story 1

Making A Difference: Coach Bell with the Sheppard Sisters (Photo Courtesy of Coach Jean Bell)

Bell has recently made headlines for helping and inspiring three young homeless women who run for her — the Sheppard sisters. They competed at the AAU Junior Olympics the past couple of years and have all won medals in their events, including this year when they helped take home gold in the 4×800. With the help of Bell, and a GoFundMe account, these girls were able to get to Texas for the AAU Junior Olympics and showcase their skills.

But Coach Bell’s devotion to her athletes extends far beyond the Sheppard sisters. As a former track athlete herself, Bell saw an opportunity to open a track club that could empower girls in the Brooklyn area, so she founded ‘Jeuness.’

It started 32 years ago when I was just out of college and didn’t have children or a husband, so it seemed like a good idea. I loved the sport and wanted to help other young women love it too.
Coach Jean Bell

With crucial help from family and friends, Bell was able to open her club. To this day, her sister and niece both coach alongside her. Girls can begin running at Jeuness as young as age five, but regardless of age, Bell makes sure they’re still putting in all of the hard work. “Once you make that decision to be on the team, you have to be ready to do the work,” she explained. “I don’t care if you’re four or if you’re fourteen — when I look at the girls in my club, I see them all as athletes.”

Even though Bell works them hard, the girls always know they can come to her if they need to talk. “Sometimes girls need a coach, a social worker, a friend, even a mini-psychiatrist,” she said. “It’s the whole thing — growing up as a girl and going through the different stages of life – they need that support sometimes. I try to help them be the women they want to be. It’s not always easy, but the girls know they can come to me with anything.”

Jean Bell Story 2

Friends Off The Track: Coach Bell and the Sheppard Sisters (Photo Courtesy Of Coach Jean Bell)

At her club, Bell does more than just coach young women to excel in track, she inspires and teaches them about life and responsibility, helping propel them in the right direction — college. “Being responsible is the main thing I try to teach girls. Knowing where you want to be and what you want to do with your life,” she said. Bell’s ultimate goal for them is college. “That’s what this team is about. Our hope is that they get there on an athletic scholarship, but even if they don’t, they’re still expected to get there and do well,” she said. “That’s the expectation.”

It’s pretty easy to see that Jean Bell wears a lot of hats for the girls of her Jeuness Track Club. But whether she’s coach Bell, therapist Bell, mom Bell, or friend Bell, one thing is crystal clear: she’ll always be there when they need her.

4 Comments

  • Tonia Handy-Bell:

    Jeanie❤️is the sweetest person and where’s her heart on her sleeve! But her expectations are high, yet very obtainable! Just be responsible and prioritize and your half way there! I love to bits!!

  • Tonia Handy-Bell:

    *wears

  • Chezelle Pryor:

    Had the pleasure of running under this woman many years ago but the best gift of last that we are actually relatives. I love my cousin for all that she gave to us girls from Holy Rosary to Jueness & for all she embodies with her wisdom, strength & her purely golden heart. Go Jean! Love you cousin!

  • Karryn Rogers:

    Jean I can’t wait until my granddaughter is old enough to join your team. She’s going on three. I miss you and the team. Congratulations on everything and continued success.

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