Being a student-athlete, means more than just showing up to the school they commit to and playing the sport that they were recruited to play. The University of Louisville is committed to making sure that these student-athletes are role models for young children and teens everywhere both on and off the field. Through a partnership with Helper Helper, Louisville student-athletes are now able to measure the impact they are making in the Louisville local community and abroad.
Throughout the 2015-16 academic year, student-athletes at the University of Louisville amassed a total of 11,049 community service and volunteer hours, which is an average of 17 hours per student-athlete. The number one men’s team was the baseball team, which averaged about 65 hours per student-athlete and totaled 2,747 hours as a team. The top women’s team was tennis, which averaged about 53 hours per student-athlete and totaled 422 total hours as a team.
These aren’t just the players that sit the bench either, with names like Nick Solak leading the baseball team with the most service hours completed by a student-athlete on the team with 96 hours. The NCAA recognized the University of Louisville baseball team as the best men’s team for community service work, and the men’s soccer team received the ACC “Game Changers” Award, which highlights specific ACC teams’ involvement with their local community.
CardsCare is about giving back to the community, and almost 69 percent of the total hours completed by our student-athletes are related to children, and community service such as local cleanup, and going to places like Kosair Children’s Hospital to visit the young children there who look up to these student-athletes. Not only do they give back to the community in the Louisville Metro Area, but places like the Dominican Republic and Vietnam as well.
Providing opportunities for our athletes to make a difference in someone else’s life is crucial to them becoming well rounded individuals. Our athletes visiting places and seeing other individuals who might not have it as good or as easy as them, helps them appreciate all they have earned and accomplished and keeps them from taking their privileges for granted. Our baseball team has eight of the top 10 outstanding student athletes who participated in the most service hours for male student-athletes at the University of Louisville.
This past year, the Louisville field hockey team was named the overall champions for the Helper Helper Community Service Madness Tournament, beating out schools like Oklahoma’s women’s basketball team, for making a difference in the community. Two standout student-athletes who lead the team in the community are Abby Grimes, and Stephanie Byrne, who both totaled 66 hours of community service during the last school year.
“We are very grateful that we have the opportunity every day to give back to the community and help those in need,” said Monica Negron, Community Relations Coordinator. “Being a student athlete at U of L is an honor and every day we receive everything to be the best that we can be. We believe that everyone should have the same opportunity. Thank you Helper Helper to motivate us to keep going.”
Aside from the months that most of the student-athletes are not on campus, such as May and June, the University of Louisville has had over 100 student-athlete volunteers per month, with over 400 service hours per month.
“The community’s support of Cardinal Athletics and our student-athletes is second to none in the country,” said Amy Calabrese, the Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development. “It’s important to us as an athletic department to give back to our fans and those in the Louisville and surrounding communities.”