A group of UNC student-athletes traded their cleats for construction gear Saturday.
Luke Ciocca is a junior at UNC. He’s also a soccer player. On Saturday, he added handy man to his résumé.
“We’re mulching; we’re moving siding,” Ciocca said. “And I’ve come out and helped move cardboard as well as heavy lifting.”
Ciocca was one of over 100 UNC student-athletes who participated in the first Day of Service on Saturday. It’s a partnership with the Orange County Habitat for Humanity. Athletes from at least five different teams worked side-by-side with Habitat workers to finish a group of houses in Efland, so families could move in as quickly as possible.
“We wanted to find a summer project where a lot of our student-athletes could come together and give back to the community since they have a little more free time in the summer,” UNC assistant director for student-athlete services Korie Sawyer said at the event.
She said the project was so successful that they had almost too many people and not enough jobs to divvy up.
“This is the first time we’ve had kind of a big service project Day of Service,” Sawyer said. “And we think we might have to do it again in the fall and spring because there was a good turnout.”
Hannah Strom is the communications manager for Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. She said Saturday was one of the most successful volunteer days Habitat has ever had.
“I think one of the great things about working with sports teams is that they’re so used to being a team and working together that they’re just a really fun group of students to work with,” Strom said.
Ciocca said he hopes to continue days of service with Habitat for Humanity, because he feels it’s so important to do something that helps the community.
“It’s something that UNC really tries to do is give back,” Ciocca said. “Especially student-athletes, because we have a lot of stuff that we get and so we try to give something back.”
Habitat for Humanity members also said they hope to plan more days of service like this in the future.