Throughout this year, we’ve had monthly awards available to athletes and teams that are doing exceptional work. Every single one of our student-athletes does amazing work, but these athletes and teams have gone above and beyond the call, showing their personal devotion to volunteering and the causes they care about! This month, for National Student-Athlete Day, we will celebrate these nominations and the community will select a National Athletes for Hope University (AFH U) Student-Athlete and Team of the Year by voting in an online campaign!
Below are the student-athletes and teams that have been nominated throughout this academic year, as well as why they were nominated. Once you have read through, don’t forget to vote for your favorite student-athlete, team, or both!
AFHU Student Athletes of the Month:
Stephen Sepcich (Tulane Men’s Baseball)
Stephen is a great baseball student-athlete who started an organization called Hams for Fams to feed families in need in the New Orleans community. This group has gotten bigger each year and has made a tremendous impact on the lives of others. His work has helped address an unmet need in this community and has extended his service to include his Tulane baseball team.
Dajour Braxton (LSU Track & Field)
Dajour has been serving as team lead for LSU Track & Field since 2016. He has been a service advocate not only for his team but the LSU athletic community. Dajour rallied student athletes from all sports to come out in numbers for last year’s MLK Day of Service. He also makes consistent visits to University Terrace Elementary to read in library classes and lead AFH Power Up! Sessions in physical education classes.
Katie Kampen (LSU Women’s Volleyball)
Katie is a natural leader on and off of the court. She not only coordinates Power UP! sessions for the team at Glasgow Middle, but constantly seeks new opportunities to increase impact. She has volunteered with Baton Rouge Wheelchair Tennis Association, LSU CLAW, Knock Knock Children’s Museum, YMCA Brusly, Marathon Kids at St. James Academy, and The Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired.
Arabella Hall (Southern University Women’s Volleyball)
Following our workshops with Southern Volleyball in January 2017, Arabella Hall hit the ground running ready to serve Baton Rouge. She has served as an amazing team lead, coordinating various service events for her team such as MLK day of service and school visits at Progress Elementary. She has also made consistent visits on her own to Progress Elementary and have become an asset to their school community.
Robert Kennedy (Tulane University Football)
Robert Kennedy was nominated due to his willingness to serve the New Orleans community. Robert’s most recent service endeavors include our Tulane Athletics Service Day, in which he made Halloween Cards and goodie bags for hospitalized children, played sports with children at the YMCA, and took part in a beautification project at Longue Vue House and Gardens. He is always willing to help and has made a huge impact on others through his service work.
Erica Susi (UVA Women’s Tennis)
Erica Susi responds promptly, politely, and helpfully to AFH University emails. It is easy to tell that she is passionate about getting her team involved, and setting a precedent for the future of her team’s volunteerism even after she has graduated. Outside of Athletes For Hope, Erica worked hard to plan a fundraiser for Huntington’s Disease to take place this spring. Erica’s fundraiser allows her teammates to have another opportunity to volunteer for an important cause!
AFHU Teams of the Month:
Ohio State University Cross Country
The Ohio State University Cross Country spent time over the summer with the Boys and Girls Club and volunteered with kids in the program. This fall, they have started doing monthly visits at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and working with Girls on the Run. While they can only do one hospital visit a month due to hospital policies, they jump in and quickly book up as man visits as possible with the kids! They are enthusiastic about giving back to our community.
Ohio State University Women’s Ice Hockey
Led by Captain Erin Langermeier, the team visits Nationwide Children’s Hospital every month and participates in evening activities geared toward improving the hospital experience for patients. So far the team has volunteered almost 50 hours of service to the hospital, and they look forward to growing the team’s relationship with the hospital! They continue to support the community both during their season and off season.
The USC Lacrosse team participated in their first 1.0 and 1.5 AFH U workshops in September and immediately jumped into service opportunities. They hosted the Harlem Lacrosse LA team for a LAX session for inner city kids in Los Angeles and have plans for more service when they can! We loved their enthusiasm and can’t wait to see what more they do in their communities!
Led by Captain Bailey Higgins, the team visits two elementary schools in the Lansing every week as part of the Active Schools program, a national program dedicated to bringing physical fitness back to the school setting. During their visits the team helps facilitate physical fitness activities and promotes healthy lifestyles. Not only has the team visited the schools this semester, but this is their third year of volunteering with these schools!
You can vote for your favorite student-athlete, team, or both here!