This past December 8, the Canisius College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) along with other student-athlete members participated in the Police Athletic League of Buffalo, Inc (PAL) annual Christmas party. The PAL is a not-for-profit organization that provides youth within the city of Buffalo with recreational, educational, cultural, environmental and preventative program activities in structured, supervised and organized settings. The purpose of this program is to provide leadership, direction and opportunity for the youth of Buffalo to become responsible and successful adults. The Buffalo PAL provides athletic and educational programs, arts and crafts, field trips, holiday parties and other activities in seven different Community Centers throughout the city.
This past December, the student-athletes of Canisius hosted the PAL Christmas party at the HENNEPIN Center in Buffalo. With the help of Mike Milovich, from the PAL, the student-athletes hosted 50 children from the city of Buffalo between the ages of seven and twelve. We set up five stations for the youth groups to rotate through. These stations consisted of making ornaments, holiday cards, decorating sugar cookies, and of course, playing games. Twenty-five student-athletes mixed in with the youth children and enjoyed their time singing Christmas Carols and interacting with the individuals so that they had a very rewarding experience. This event was very organized and extremely busy for two hours. The student-athletes of Canisius love to spend time with the youth community around Buffalo to ensure that they too become great leaders with and for eachother.
On Friday, December 2, Iona College students gathered together to fundraise for the Children's Miracle Network and the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, NY. The organizations are part of Westchester Medical Center.
The national organization and the local hospital support children with cancer, prolonged illness, and injury. Student-athletes signed up as teams to compete with one another to raise money and awareness for the children’s hospital. The six-hour dance marathon was very successful, raising over $18,726.
Sophomore Jessica Paolucci of the volleyball program commented: "IonaTHON was a great opportunity not only to give back, but to create a bond with our community over doing it. These families need our financial and emotional help, and it's nice to know we had a part in their healing process."
Baseball, Men's Soccer, and Women's Swimming & Diving are all breaking new ground by participating in a unique gift giving venture.
Sophomore baseball player Fran Kinsey and his family are hosting an annual Christmas party for friends and family where they ask that people bring a gift-card, toys, or clothing for those in need. The Kinsey family has been partnered with Ronald McDonald House in Camden, NJ for the past five years. In relation with the foundation, the Kinsey family will be able to buy gifts for 11 children.
Additionally, the Kinsey’s are sponsoring a family through the Adopt A Family organization. The partnership connects the Kinsey family with another family that has two children.
Lastly, they will be helping a family with four children who are in need having recently lost their mother.
The Iona College athletics community and the Kinsey family are all partnering together to bring the true holiday spirit towards all those in need.
Through donations and a generous efforts of time, everyone involved in the philanthropic endeavor will all be helping to provide a Christmas celebration to all those children and families who would not necessarily have it any other way.
Kinsey added: "I'm very excited that my family here at Iona could come together with my family at home to help bring Christmas to those in need. The willingness and generosity of the Iona student-athletes was amazing to see and their contributions will brighten the spirits of these families this Christmas season.
RIVERDALE, NY – Manhattan College student-athletes have been recognized by the NCAA as the national leaders in community service hours for the month of November. The Jaspers’ ranking was determined based on volunteer hours submitted via the Helper Helper app, which coordinates and tracks community service activity among Division I programs.
“I’m so thrilled for our student-athletes,” Alison Fitzgerald, Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance & Life Skills and moderator of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), said. “They’ve worked hard all semester, and I’m glad their receiving this well-deserved honor as first in the nation. They should all be incredibly proud of themselves.”
“Being a part of Manhattan College’s SAAC has me feeling blessed and thankful that I’m surrounded by student-athletes that love to help others,” SAAC President Maddie Arndt, a member of the women’s track & field team, added. “The amount of hours we have completed in community service together is truly amazing and more than we ever thought we could. Each team puts in a great effort and it feels wonderful to be recognized for our hard work. I cannot wait to see what the Spring semester has in store for the SAAC.”
The SAAC recently earned over $8,100 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation during its annual “Brave A Shave For Kids With Cancer” fundraiser. The Jaspers also created holiday cards for nursing homes and soldiers deployed overseas as a part of the “Cards For a Cause” program, and conducted a Thanksgiving food drive that collected just under 200 pounds of food that was donated to the Mercy Center in the Bronx. In addition, Team Jasper Strong, a group of more than 350 Manhattan student-athletes and staff members, took part in the American Cancer Society “Making Strides For a Cure” 5K walk in Central Park.
In November, the women’s lacrosse program was presented with the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association’s (IWLCA) Team Community Awareness Award, recognizing the Jaspers for their contributions on campus and in the community.
Donors, volunteers, staff, supporters and the board of the Dutchess County SPCA got together to host an auction and brunch to benefit the animals at the local shelter. Three members of the Marist Softball program participated in the fashion show portion of the event. The Dutchess County SPCA has been caring for animals and matching them with families in our community since 1871, making it the 3rd oldest animal welfare agency in the country.
Student-athletes on the Marist Women’s Water Polo team attended a holiday event at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum in Poughkeepsie, NY. The student-athletes helped run the several stations that were set up for children and their parent/guardians. Each station included a holiday themed game or craft that they completed with the kids. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum features exhibits that promote early literacy and STEM, art, health and wellness, and community-building. Their activities provide an opportunity for the children of the community to develop foundational skills while engaging in purposeful play and learning.
OCEAN, NJ – The Monmouth University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (MSAAC) made its annual visit to see the students at the LADACIN Network’s Schroth School in Ocean Township. The group of student-athletes, coaches and administrators helped Santa deliver gifts to the local students in nine classrooms.
Thursday’s visit marks the 18th year that MSAAC has helped Santa deliver gifts to the students at the Schroth School.
“Visiting the Schroth School is always a humbling experience,” junior women’s soccer player Rachelle Ross said. “This time of year is about giving back and to be able to do that for an amazing group of kids makes it that much more enjoyable.”
“It was nice to come out to the Schroth School, especially with our teammates, and put a smile on these kids’ faces,” redshirt freshman quarterback Kenji Bahar added. “It was wonderful, hanging out Pedro, CJ and playing hockey with them. It was a fun morning all around.”
LADACIN Network (an acronym for Lifetime Assistance for Developmental and Challenging Individual Needs) is a non-profit agency whose mission is to provide education, therapeutic, social, residential and support services for people with cerebral palsy or other physical disabilities. Established in 1952, formerly known as Cerebral Palsy of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, LADACIN Network now provides lifetime assistance to over 2500 families in 11 facilities.
HAMDEN, CT – Mika Nervick's impact on the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey program stretches far beyond the ice.
The senior forward from Lakeville, Minnesota has played a unique role in the team's day-to-day operations in Hamden over the past four years – a role that most Division I athletes aren't expected to play.
In addition to training as a member of the team, Nervick currently serves as the Community Service Coordinator for the program.
"Through Mika's character and leadership over the last four years, she has shaped the team-first personality of our group," Quinnipiac women's ice hockey head coach Cassandra Turner said. "Her dedication and consistency to her personal values have shown everyone in our program what it means to truly care about a teammate, how rewarding it can be to give to others, and how to make others better both on the ice and in the weight room."
Specifically, Nervick spends her time off the ice and out of the classroom finding causes the team can contribute to. She then schedules events, figuring out how many student-athletes can fit the community service project into their schedule.
"I place people in roles where they're going to succeed in the community," Nervick explained. "Ultimately, we're trying to build a two-way relationship with the groups we help. We're there to support them, and hopefully they show up at our games and support us."
Led by Nervick, the Bobcats helped plan this year's Do It For Daron (DIFD) game on Friday, November 18, 2016 vs. Cornell at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden. The organization promotes youth mental health and awareness, and aims at supporting people who suffer from the stigma of mental illness.
The program has also read to 2nd grade students at Shepherd Glen Elementary School, helped prepare and serve Thanksgiving meals at the local soup kitchen, and ran an ice cream truck and booth at Quinnipiac's Fresh Check Day. Before the end of the season, the team will skate with the Shoreline Sharks U-12 team.
Nervick has even started a department-wide program for Quinnipiac Athletics. Working with the administration at O.H. Platt High School in Meriden, she's begun setting up at-risk advisory groups as a platform for Quinnipiac student-athletes to interact with troubled students. 48 students have already reached out to Nervick, volunteering some time to the program during the spring.
"Her efforts in facilitating our community service efforts over the last two seasons have been outstanding, leading initiatives not only for our program but for our entire athletic department," Turner said. " We feel so fortunate to have Mika as a valuable member of our hockey team and I'm confident that she has enhanced our culture in a way that will last long after she graduates this spring."
Nervick and teammates volunteered at a local soup kitchen over Thanksgiving break.
Nervick calls the experience "a privilege," saying that it's been one of the most rewarding experiences she's had in her time at college.
"Sometimes it can be really challenging, but it's always rewarding," Nervick said. "Academics come first, but I've always made it a priority each week to sit down for a couple of hours and try to find new ways to have our program help out.
Right away, Nervick knew she'd found a way to make an impact day in and day out, regardless of her performance on the ice. Giving back to the surrounding community, she says, is a way for the team to show its appreciation for how much it has been given at Quinnipiac.
And for her, that's enough.
"I've just showed up to the rink for four years with a positive attitude, creating positive energy for the team and giving it my best every day. I'll leave here after four years feeling like I left everything on the line. I gave the program everything I could."