And that’s a wrap! Summer is almost over, but that doesn’t mean the Gophers have been lying around. Quite the contrary, really. The student-athletes used their time without classes and competition to not only relax, but to give back to the community. The Gophers volunteered a lot over the past few months, and just finished their last community service of the summer last Wednesday.
MAGIC (Maroon and Gold Impacting the Community) was focused on providing a lot of volunteering opportunities to make a difference within the community this summer. The Gophers visited 58 various sites, including Feed My Starving Children, Target Field, elementary schools around the Twin Cities, and Camp Odayin. All of these events added up to 186.75 hours of volunteering.
One of the most active volunteers was Vanessa Johnston, a rower and intern for the Student-Athlete Development department.
“Volunteering is always great reminder of how fortunate I am in many aspects,” Johnston said. “It also makes me think beyond the University and it feels really great to give back to the community, for example when we helped build a playground at a Girls and Boys Club.”
The last event of the summer was a unique experience, where the athletes could see their volunteering effort in a finished product. The CarMax Foundation and KaBoom, a non-profit organization that helps communities build playgrounds for children, teamed up together to build a playground for Mt. Airy Boys and Girls Club. The rainy weather pushed everybody to work hard, and the playground was finished within six hours with the help of Vanessa Johnston (rowing), Ben Bravence (swimming), and more than 120 other volunteers from CarMax and Best Buy. The children came out to watch the last adjustments and thanked each individual who put their hand to work.
“Through our partnership with KaBOOM!, CarMax Associates are a hands-on part of our national focus on children’s healthy living as we transform the lives of children through play,” Terry Glass, CarMax regional vice president general manager, said. “It’s an honor to work closely with amazing partners such as the Gophers on this playground build.”
“Our student-athletes continue to impress me with the level of their engagement and it’s fun to see them making a difference in the community other than their athletic contributions,” Anissa Lightner, director of the Student-Athlete Development, said about student-athletes’ involvement in the community.
The Gophers will take a short break before they get back to volunteering action. They’ll warm up with a few community events the first week of school, before they kick off with one of the biggest events of the year, the annual HopeDay Festival.
Source: Aug. 30, 2015
Written by Tereza Brichacova, student MAGIC intern