The SUNY Oneonta student athletes have been doing their part lately, as they have been involved in various community service projects while raising money for breast cancer awareness. Nearly half of the varsity athletic teams were quite busy during the month of October in and around the greater Oneonta area.
The largest event for the student athletes was its annual leaf raking event in which they travel to local residences and businesses to help rake leaves for those older residents and business owners who can’t rake their own leaves. All tolled, SUNY Oneonta student athletes from eight teams raked a total of 43 residences and businesses during the week of Oct. 21-26. Student athletes from the cross country/track & field program, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball and softball all contributed to the effort.
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This is what some of our student athletes had to say about their community service efforts,
Senior Kyle McCaleb (Baldwinsville/C.W. Baker), Cross Country/Track & Field:
“Helping our community, especially when the community supports us as much as ours does, is extremely important to our athletes, and is a great way to show our appreciation for the support we receive every day. Furthermore, realizing the importance of helping community members in need, and then acting on this realization, served to humble and educate our team, providing an important lesson in developing us into civic minded caring adults that our coaches, parents, and mentors would be proud of.”
Junior Nicole Brieva (Kings Park/Kings Park), Softball:
“This is my third year doing leaf raking, however, it is the first time I was actually able to talk to the owner of the home. Upon arrival, the team looked at each other in shock of how large the property was and how many leaves we had to rake! Soon, the owner, Gina, greeted us with donuts and apple cider. She told us a story about how her husband had passed two years ago and how he built their house himself. Her son visits once in a while and helps her with the landscaping, however, she usually does all of the work herself. She kept on saying to us that anything we do is a huge help to her, even if it we only did a little. Her energy and positivity made the experience even more fulfilling and it felt great to see not only how great the yard was once we were finished, but to see the appreciation in her smile.”
Senior Stefanie Rodriguez (Yorktown Heights/Yorktown), Lacrosse:
“Having the opportunity to help out around the community with my teammates was a wonderful experience. The community was more than appreciative of our efforts, which made the day very enjoyable. My teammates are already looking forward to the leaf raking project next fall.”
Senior Sean McMurray (Medford/Patchogue-Medford), Baseball:
“It was nice being able to do something for the town of Oneonta, and getting just getting to know the guys outside of a baseball setting made it that much better.”
Junior Zach Mager (New City/Clarkstown South), Basketball:
“It feels great giving back to the community and helping others, the guys had a great time raking and working together”
Senior Alyshia Crawford (Oxford/Oxford), Basketball:
“I feel as though leaf raking is a good way to get in touch with the community and help people who are in need of this service. This puts a positive idea on the athletics program and their willingness to help and be involved in the city of Oneonta.”
Along with the leaf raking, women’s volleyball and women’s soccer raised money for breast cancer awareness and research in support of breast cancer awareness month. The volleyball team held its annual Dig Pink Invitational tournament to support the AVCA’s Dig Pink Initiative while also selling t-shirts. The volleyball team has raised between $1,000-1,500 annually for this important initiative.
Women’s soccer held a “Score for a Cure” event during its final home weekend of the season where they received donations from those who attended their games on Friday and Saturday. The team raised $275 for their first time organizing such an event, which will be donated to breast cancer research.
In addition to the leaf raking, the softball team also helped Habitat for Humanity along with helping at the annual Oneonta Boys and Girls Club Halloween Party.