QUEENS, N.Y. – As Director of Women’s Basketball Operations at St. John’s, Veronica Mullen’s long list of responsibilities includes helping the 11 student-athletes on the Red Storm’s roster fulfill the University Athletics Department mission of “Win. Graduate. Serve.” This winter, through a creation of her own, Mullen has put a special emphasis on the third element of that mantra, while coming up with a unique way of promoting school spirit and unity amongst St. John’s student-athletes.
Starting in early January, the Red Storm women’s hoops team has participated every week in “Athletic Community Wednesdays,” which Mullen developed with the goal of seeing St. John’s student-athletes take a special interest in serving their community and those less fortunate. Each week sees the Red Storm take part in a different service opportunity, and each week student-athletes from other teams on the St. John’s campus are invited and encouraged to take part.
“My vision for Athletic Community Wednesdays was to incorporate more programs in the various community service events that the women’s basketball team participates in during the year,” said Mullen. “I wanted to make it a more collaborative effort with student-athletes from a variety of sports coming together to serve the community. St. John’s prides itself on being a Vincentian University and giving back to the community and that is what this program focuses on. We have gotten off to a great start with the men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s golf teams joining women’s basketball at the volunteer events. We have softball signed up for future events and I look forward to working with more teams throughout the semester.”
This past Wednesday, members of the St. John’s women’s basketball squad were joined by student-athletes from the Red Storm women’s golf program in volunteering at The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, which offers comfort and shelter to families experiencing the pain of having a sick child in local hospital facilities. Following a tour of the site, the St. John’s student-athletes used kitchen facilities at the Ronald McDonald House to prepare a brunch for the families of children being treated at Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center located in New Hyde Park.
“It was a humbling experience,” said Red Storm women’s golf student-athlete Brittany Hurst. “Sometimes we take for granted our good health while the children and their families that use the Ronald McDonald House services worry about whether or not their loved ones will make it to their next birthday. It was amazing being able to give back to our community, but the day was also a dose of reality of us.”
So far this winter, Red Storm student-athletes have already volunteered at a number of philanthropic organizations as part of Athletic Community Wednesdays. On Jan. 22, student-athletes helped out at The Mobile Soup Kitchen (MSK), a compact mobile extension of St. John’s Bread and Life operation which brings a soup kitchen to those in need. Student-athletes assisted with serving breakfast to the patrons of the mobile soup kitchen. On Jan. 29, Red Storm representatives were on hand to volunteer at Bright Beginnings, a non-profit child care center for New York state employees and the community at large serving children between the ages of one to four years old. Student-athletes assisted with serving breakfast to the infants before helping set up for the day’s activities. The first Athletic Community Wednesday of February saw St. John’s student-athletes volunteer at a thrift store as part of Handcrafting Justice, an international network that works in partnership with women in social and economic distress to promote human dignity and justice by creating opportunities for economic and social transformation.
Athletic Community Wednesdays are scheduled to continue through the month of April and will see Red Storm student-athletes work with senior citizens at LeFrak Senior Center (Feb. 19) and Northeast Queens Senior Services (March 5), volunteer at homeless shelters at Briarwood Family Residence (March 12) and Providence House (March 26), and even assist in laying reflective roof coatings in New York City to lower energy costs as part of Cool Roofs (April 23), among many more community service projects.
For more information on Athletic Community Wednesdays, contact Veronica Mullen by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is a list of philanthropic organizations with which Red Storm student-athletes are scheduled to volunteer with as part of Athletic Community Wednesdays.
February 19, 2014
LeFrak Senior Center
LeFrak Senior Center’s overall mission is to enhance the quality of life for seniors in the Queens community with love, dignity and respect.
February 26, 2014
Heart Share First Step
The mission of Heart Share Human Services is to nurture and support, with dignity and respect, children, adults and families in order to expand opportunities and enhance lives. Heart Share operates high-quality, innovative programs for children, from age 3 to 5, with developmental delays or disabilities. We also provide Universal Pre-K half-day classes for 4-year-old children. Heart Share firmly believes that the family is the most important influence in a child’s life. As a result, our programs emphasize parent education and family involvement. We maintain an open-door policy, and parents are always welcome to visit.
March 5, 2014
Northeast Queens Senior Services
For seniors aged 60 and older, Catholic Charities offers congregate lunch, entitlement counseling and advocacy, case management, transportation and chore services. Case management services for the homebound elderly include case assistance, information and referral, Meals on Wheels, transportation, supportive counseling, caregiver support groups, advocacy, and chore services.
March 12, 2014
Briarwood Family Residence
The Briarwood Family Residence is a temporary housing shelter for over 90 homeless families. One of the goals of Briarwood is to provide a pleasant, safe and well-maintained environment that encourages families to use the available social-service programs.
March 19, 2014
Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
The Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger operates one of the largest client-choice supermarket- style food pantries in the five boroughs, providing food to an average 11,000 people every month. Alongside their core mission of fighting hunger in central Brooklyn and the greater New York metropolitan area, they also work to address health issues like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease that disproportionately affect their customer population.
March 26, 2014
Providence House affirms its commitment to provide shelter and support to homeless, abused and formerly incarcerated women and their children in a hospitable, non-violent, compassionate atmosphere. We also strive to address the causes of injustice and work towards the full and fruitful participation in the community of those with whom we share life.
April 2, 2014
Breakfast Run with Casa Mary Johana
As one community, join us as our St. John’s University volunteers will make sandwiches and offer a simple breakfast, along with clothing and personal care items to immigrant workers at various sites on Long Island. This early morning relief effort creates a forum for trust, sharing, understanding and affection as a human exchange, rather than the exchange of goods. Through this Vincentian service effort, St. John’s University volunteers come to see and know God’s poor – to be transformed and challenged by these experiences.
April 9, 2014
Bethany House exists to strengthen and assist those women and children from Long Island who are deprived of the basic resources required for natural and healthy growth and development. Bethany House seeks to provide a homelike atmosphere where basic living needs are met and comprehensive services combine to encourage the head of the family to attain self – sufficiency for the family and restore their human dignity.
April 23, 2014
NYC °CoolRoofs is an exciting collaboration between NYC Service and the NYC Department of Buildings to promote and facilitate the cooling of New York City’s rooftops. Applying a reflective surface to a roof helps reduce cooling costs, cut energy usage and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Join us as we coat New York City rooftops to make a greener, greater New York!
April 30, 2014
Brush with Kindness/Publicolor
A Brush with Kindness is an exterior home preservation program that offers painting, landscaping and minor repair services to eligible homeowners so they can continue to live in safe, decent homes for years to come.