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3 schools honored for community outreach

Miami (Florida), Georgian Court and Alma win NCAA Team Works Helper Helper competition

Student-athletes at the University of Miami (Florida), Georgian Court and Alma have earned the 2018 NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition award for their community outreach efforts.

Jessica Hurley, a Miami (Florida) Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative who is on the women’s swimming and diving team, joins a group of students at Carver Elementary School. University of Miami (Florida) photo

NCAA Team Works, which coordinates community service efforts at NCAA championships, and Helper Helper, a volunteer management and tracking platform, launched the community service competition to recognize student-athletes who give back to their communities. The competition ran from January through March with the winning schools’ victories being decided based on the number of service hours completed and participation of student-athletes. The honors are being announced in conjunction with National Student-Athlete Day, which is celebrated each year on April 6. The NCAA will honor the student-athletes later this month on their respective campuses.

This is the fourth annual NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition award, with all Divisions I, II and III participating schools combining for 94,683 hours of community service in 3,300 opportunities. NCAA Team Works is proud to honor student-athletes who are making a difference in their communities, contributing to their overall student-athlete experience, well-being and success while in college and after graduation.

Student-athletes at Miami earned first place in the Division I category. They participated in more than 200 events and totaled more than 3,382 hours of community service.

“Our athletics director, Blake James, talks about University of Miami athletics building champions. We spread that mentality throughout our entire department,” said Shirelle Jackson, senior associate athletics director for student-athlete development at Miami.

“This recognition acknowledges our student-athletes’ passion to impact lives in our university community and beyond. Our student-athletes learn on their first campus visit when recruited that community outreach can be a leading part of their overall experience. Miami Hurricanes are competitive in all things, including uplifting those in our community,” Jackson said.

 The Hurricanes participated in a variety of outreach projects, hosting events with the Boys and Girls Club, Best Buddies, Holtz Children’s Hospital and more. In an ongoing event throughout the year, 77 athletes have become pen pals with students at local elementary schools.

Students participate in Georgian Court’s second annual Make-A-Wish volleyball tournament, hosted by the women’s volleyball team. Georgian Court University photo

This award marks the second consecutive win for the student-athletes at Georgian Court, who took first-place honors in the Division II category. The Lions tallied 2,700 service hours by participating in events with more than 20 nonprofit organizations.

When asked about their experience participating in community service, Artie Sanchez, a junior on the soccer team at Georgian Court, commented:  “As student-athletes, we don’t realize until we reflect that just a small amount of our time results in an enormous effect on the lives of people in our community. Not only does it impact those we help, but it impacts us, as well.”

One of the biggest events over the semester was the National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This was attended by 191 Georgian Court athletes who participated in service activities in celebration of the day.

Alma student-athletes pick up trash at Biscayne National Park in Florida. Alma College photo

Alma earned the Division III honor in the first year that the division has participated in the competition. Logging 1,900 hours since the start of the competition in January, the Alma Student-Athlete Advisory Committee did an outstanding job encouraging all of its student-athletes to get out in the community and serve others. The coaches, administration and student-athletes are dedicated to the service of others while creating good citizens.

Madison Webster of the Alma women’s lacrosse team said, "I have always been big on volunteering, but being a student-athlete has helped me recognize the privilege I have and the ability to give back to those who just need a little extra help. I think this is important for all students to recognize because we will be the source of change if we use these advantages to help others."

Rounding out the top five schools in the Division I competition were Towson, Louisville, Georgia Southern and George Washington. Division II finalists included Arkansas Tech, Georgia Southwestern, Wayne State (Michigan) and Roberts Wesleyan. And Division III closed with Albion, Cabrini, Iowa Wesleyan and Wisconsin-Platteville in its top five.

For more information on the NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition, visit ncaa.com/teamworks or helperhelper.com.