Athletes for Hope would not exist without the drive, passion and dedication by athletes all over the world to make the world a better place. In our Member Athlete Spotlight series, it is our hope that the public will get to know our athletes, learn about the philanthropy and advocacy work they’re doing and understand what motivates them to use their platform for good.
What is your name, school, school year, sport?
Ruth Axton, Georgetown University, Women’s Rowing, Junior (class of 2022)
What inspired you to give back to your community/commit time to service?
I wanted to get involved with AFH because I try to leave things, places, or teams better than I found it. I was inspired after the AFH workshop to think about myself as a younger athlete and what I could do to make their experience better. Whether that be the transition from high school to college athletics, how to set yourself up as a high school athlete to be successful in college, or just information about college athletics in general.
What community service have you worked on in your community?
I’ve been working with Strong Girls United as a mentor for a younger athlete where I help the athletes how to feel empowered and be the best version of themselves. With athletes for hope, I worked to create a present a program that provides high school student-athletes with information about nutrition and eating disorders. The goal being to open the conversation about eating disorders in athletes, because they are present whether we talk about them or not.
What has been your favorite moment when giving back to your community?
My favorite moment, as menial as it sounds, is hearing from the younger athletes. Over zoom, it can be hard to tell if they are paying attention to you at all. That being said, when the athletes reach out to me – even if it’s for advice about school or college decisions – it really makes me feel like I have the ability to make an impact.
How has being an athlete helped you give back to your community?
“Being an athlete has Georgetown has given me a platform. As much as I may not realize it because I am not that much older than a lot of the athletes I work with, I’m in a position where they can look up to me or I can be an example to them. Our coach always tells us that when we travel we are representing the university and I think that goes much further than just during competition. I feel as though I’m representing the university while doing service but I also have the backing and support of the University. Also, by being an athlete I am able to relate to the teenagers I work with. I’m able to express to them that I know what they’re going through and I’ve been where they have been. I really think they take me more seriously because of that. “
What is your advice to other student-athletes who are looking to get more involved in community service/giving back?
Start small and start local. Look back at your path to college athletics and find the places where you can make a difference. As college athletes, I think we can sometimes be held back by our schedule and feeling like we can’t make that much of a difference because there are other athletes that have bigger platforms or more name recognition. We all have the communities we grew up in or certain life experiences that connect us to a community and giving back to those groups can be a perfect place to start.