Volleyball Stays Active In the Community
April 30, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana Volleyball team has been busy this spring, and not just on the court and in the classroom. The Hoosiers have taken time to visit several local organizations in the community including the Boys and Girls Club of Ellettsville, Girls, Inc. the Monroe County Animal Shelter and the Meadowood Retirement Village.
"We are so fortunate to be a part of Indiana Athletics,” said head coach Sherry Dunbar, “it affords us a platform to be role models for youth and to give back to our community in many other ways as well. I am very proud of our student-athletes for the quality time they put into making a difference in the lives of others."
Several of these student-athletes regularly spend time with the Boys and Girls Club of Ellettsville. Every week they volunteer with kids in a variety of activities such as painting, drawing, making arts and crafts, watches movies and helping with homework.
Redshirt freshman Mariah Coleman works specifically in the art room where she is able to draw and paint with the kids.
“I’ve had an absolutely amazing experience here,” said Coleman, “the kids are great, and it is an honor to know that these kids look to me as a role model.”
Jazzmine McDonald volunteers in the game room and is able to play ping-pong and board games with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club. She notes that the opportunity to volunteer at this organization has been an amazing experience and has actually helped mold her into a better leader on the court
“Volunteering has helped teach me how to be a more effective communicator,” said McDonald. “It’s taught me patience and how relate to a diverse set of individuals within a group.”
Amelia Anderson is in her second year of working with the Boys and Girls Club. Her time spent with the kids there has provided a unique relationship with the people in the community.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to give back to the community that supports us throughout our season,” said Anderson. “We get to know them on a more personal level. Being more accessible and making personal relationships changes the perception of us as just student-athletes on the court. We become familiar faces that they have spent time with on a weekly basis.”
Not only has volunteering influenced the Hoosiers as athletes, it has also helped them grow as students as well.
“I’m a Human Development and Family Studies Major and have a desire to work with kids in some way,” said sophomore defensive specialist Courtney Harnish. “Having experience working with children of various circumstances and backgrounds will help me learn how to interact with them in the future.”
Senior Morgan Leach volunteers at Girls, Inc. where she assists with various duties that help function a weekly youth volleyball league. As a student-athlete looking to stay in a game as a coach one day, her time with Girls, Inc. has been rewarding in a number of ways.
“It’s helpful to observe a variety of coaching styles and how they approach certain challenges,” said Leach, “but more importantly, the ability to give back is extremely important. These young girls look up to us, come to our games, our camps. This is an opportunity to give back to youth volleyball and encourage young girls to stay active and have fun competing in sports.”
That sentiment toward the importance of giving back has been consistent for all of the Hoosiers who were able to volunteer this year.
“We are truly blessed to have these opportunities,” said sophomore setter Katie Gallagher, “it’s rewarding to know that we have the ability to make an impact on something much bigger than ourselves.”
"If I can inspire just one of the kids there, I think that is the biggest benefit there is.”
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