The Indiana University Kokomo teams are trying to not only make an impact on the playing field but also in their community. Over the past few weeks all four Cougar teams have participated in community event in Kokomo.
Most recently the men’s basketball team participated in the “Truffle Shuffle” where the team walked a mile in the Cole Fitness Center and received a truffle when they completed the walk. The walk was hosted by IU Kokomo’s Ribbon Warriors and the proceeds from the walk went to breast health programs in central Indiana.
On March 29, the women’s volleyball team spent their Saturday working with Habitat for Humanity. The players and coaching staff spent the day painting, insulating the house, and installing shelves for the house located just north of the Cougar Gym on Apperson Way.
“We were able to work side by side with the actual future homeowner. Our team was able to see firsthand the joy this man has over owning his first home,” coach Heather Hayes said, “We feel blessed to have been a small part of helping this man reach his dream.”
The Habitat organization will be building every Saturday and for more information on how to volunteer visit www.habitatkokomo.com/. Hayes and her team had a great afternoon working and would encourage others to volunteer when they can.
“The opportunity allowed for great team building as well as our team to learn a bit about home construction. We shared laughs when we dropped paint on our heads and learned that cutting when painting does not mean we actually cut the wall,” Hayes said, “I highly respect those that organize this program and spend countless hours helping improve the lives of others.”
The IU Kokomo men’s and women’s cross country teams participated in the “Old Ben 5k Run” on March 8. The run benefits the Indiana University Kokomo Alumni Association who in turn offer scholarships to “IU Kokomo students who show academic success, outstanding character, and/or participate in extracurricular activities on campus” (IU Alumni Association). Head coach Jason VanAlstine values the support the community gives his team and wants to return the favor when they can.
“Our athletes do a lot of volunteer work at the local level to show the community that we support them just like they support us during our competitions” VanAlstine said, “It also shows the athletes that we have a civic responsibility to help those in need.”
Athletic director Brandon Podgorski emphasizes the importance of volunteer work to the coaches and players and is pleased that the teams have embraced the idea of volunteering.
“I’m very proud of our student-athletes and coaches for their work in the community and on-campus.” Podgorski continued, “These are opportunities that will leave a greater legacy than what they will do athletically.”