Originally created in 2008, the “Leaf Relief” program was designed to unify the entire Goshen College Athletic Department – more than 300 student-athletes, coaches, and staff – to lead an effort to serve others in the spirit of Goshen College and its core values, which include servant leadership. It gives student-athletes a chance to make a difference in tangible ways and “give back” to the community.
The three main focuses of the project involve community service, raising awareness for worthy causes, and raising funds for humanitarian efforts. Over the past six years, thousands of dollars have been raised for charities and teams have done projects in multiple states as well as sent funds and supplies to multiple countries. Here is a look at some of the most recent projects.
Lymphoma Awareness Night
The Maple Leafs held a special “Stand Up To Cancer” awareness night at a men’s basketball game, raising awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They also pulled off an emotional win over Taylor with many in attendance “standing up” for men’s basketball head coach Neal Young, who is currently undergoing treatment for T-cell lymphoma.
Feed My Starving Children
The baseball team worked with Feed My Starving Children, an organization that sends food to nearly 70 countries worldwide. They served at a MobilePack location in Nappanee, putting together meals. “This was a great opportunity for our guys to contribute to something so much bigger than themselves and they greatly enjoyed the experience,” head coach Alex Childers said.
The women’s basketball team hosted a Holiday party for residents at Greencroft Retirement Community. They decorated cookies, participated in Christmas themed games, and sang Christmas carols. “Service work is so important because it’s out way of giving back to a community that has given so much to us,” sophomore Liz Tecca (Parchment, Mich.) said. “We are beyond blessed in our lives at Goshen College and getting the opportunity to spend some time with the people at Greencroft allowed us to show our appreciation.”
Reading in Schools
Student-athletes from multiple sports (soccer, tennis, volleyball and basketball) were part of “Reading Day” at Concord Southside Elementary School. They read books to dozens of children and also had a chance to play their respective sports with them. Several student-athletes also took part in “Real Men Read,” a similar program in the Goshen schools.
Goshen Schools Health Day
Led by student-athletes, a group teamed with the GC Kinesiology Department to put on a health day at Goshen Community Schools. The group educated Goshen families on wellness, created opportunities to increase fitness, increased awareness of community partners and resources, and led education efforts on healthy nutrition opportunities in family life.
Cross Country Service Days
While teams prepared for their years, the cross country team spent several days of their pre-season training doing service. Among their projects, they helped out around campus pulling weeds and clearing invasive species and worked with The Window packaging supplies for those in need.
Free Basketball Clinics
During the preseason, the Maple Leaf men’s basketball team performed free basketball clinics at Prairie View and Chandler Elementary School.
Check out some pictures from Leaf Relief projects over the last few years.