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Athletes in Action

Athletes in Action

MSU Spartans Celebrated March’s National Reading Month

by Meredith Norris

Looking back at a recent service opportunity, AFH University member, Michigan State created a virtual March is Reading Month library that reached more kids than they could imagine. 

In previous years, Spartan student-athletes would go into local elementary schools and read children’s books to numerous classrooms. Conscientious of the current climate, MSU decided to create a virtual library in the hopes to reach more children. Michigan State student-athletes recorded themselves reading children’s books and uploaded their video to a virtual library that was sent to various elementary classrooms. 

This virtual library was shared with over 400 teachers, Speech Language Pathologists, librarians, literacy coaches, etc., reaching 47 schools in 19 school districts around the state of Michigan. The addition of this virtual library, allowed videos of MSU student-athletes encouraging and promoting the importance of reading to affect over 8,000 young children! 

We are so proud of the continual drive to conduct service opportunities, despite the circumstances. Great job Spartans!

“I participated in March is Reading Month because I remember how much I loved being read to as a kid, and I remember how it made me feel loved and cared about. It felt good to be able to let other kids experience that too, and I’m sure it was extra special for them get read to by Michigan State Athletes.”

Parker Jamieson, Men’s Golf

“I participated in the March as a reading month because giving back to kids is one of my favorite things to do. I remember when I was in middle school I idolized MSU athletes, and to give back just a little bit of my time to make some kids days was totally worth it for me.”

Rebecka Poljan, Women’s Volleyball & AFH U March Student-Athlete of the Month

Athletes in Action

March 2022 AFH University Recap!

Three things are always constant in March at AFH: the weather starts getting warmer, the sun shines a little brighter, and our AFH University student-athletes are constantly giving back!

This year, our March activations mainly focused on disability awareness and inclusion opportunities with kids from all over the country. Our AFH U Baton Rouge campuses:

  • Began weekly baseball games with Miracle League which will go through May
  • Hosted a field day with LA Key Academy elementary students
  • Helped with a house painting project with The Walls Project

AFH U Howard student-athletes also worked with K.E.E.N. Greater DC players at a basketball clinic.

It was just fun being able to play with kids who have nothing but pure joy for the game. It reminded me of how I felt about the game when I was younger, so they truly are an inspiration to remember to be grateful for every moment on the field.

Raquel Latta #14, Southern Softball

Take a look at some of the amazing highlights in the gallery below and join us in celebrating these incredible student-athletes for bringing smiles to so many!

AFH Athletes in Action

MLK Day of Service 2022

In late 2021, AFH student-athletes had plans set for MLK Day of Service in January of 2022. But when COVID-19 numbers increased with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, many of these events were cancelled or postponed. Did that stop AFH U student-athletes from finding creative and safe ways to give back? Of course not!

Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Southern University Women’s Soccer team prepped meals at a local shelter in Baton Rouge
  • Howard Women’s Soccer and Lacrosse assisted with a facility beautification project and food packing and delivery all over Washington, D.C.
  • LSU Beach Volleyball, Volleyball, Softball, Soccer and Gymnastics all helped with a beautification project at a local high school in Baton Rouge
  • Georgetown Field Hockey, Rowing, Softball and Track and Field made over 30 blankets for children experiencing homelessness

…and that was all in just one day!

Other AFH Athletes took the MLK Day of Service Pledge, committing to use their platforms beyond just January 17th, 2022 while the Howard University Golf Team shared why MLK Day is important and what it means to them:

Featuring Jada Richardson, Kendall Jackson, Richard Jones and Edward Whiten of Howard University Golf.

For so many across the country, “MLK Day” is a day off from work. But for Athletes for Hope and the athletes we work with, it’s a day on. This year was no different even though circumstances were a little more difficult to navigate than normal.

We are so proud of these athletes for carrying on Dr. King’s legacy and we know they will continue to do so throughout the year, and beyond.

National Voting is Open for 2020-2021 AFH U Awards

Athletes for Hope is excited to announce this year’s Finalists for the the 2020-2021 Athletes for Hope University (AFH U) Awards. This award is designed to recognize and honor AFH U student-athletes and teams for their exceptional work and dedication to service. These student-athletes and teams were chosen throughout the year during monthly nominations for their continued commitment to addressing the needs of their communities during a global pandemic by quickly adapting to a strategic virtual model.

Voting opens on May 9th and closes on May 23rd.  The winners will be announced on May 26th at the virtual AFH U Year End Recognition celebration. During the voting campaign, each nominated team and student-athlete will be recognized in an initial blog post and spotlighted on social media individually for their work.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s finalists and don’t forget to vote here.

2020-2021 AFH U Awards: Student-Athlete Finalists

Raychel Fauntroy – Howard University, Swim and Dive

Raychel just finished her sophomore year at Howard University. When Raychel isn’t studying Human Performance or training in the pool, she’s participating in Athletes for Hope activities and finding outreach opportunities for her teammates. Raychel’s a hard worker who continues to excel in all aspects of life. She’s an incredible teammate and AFH member who always wants what’s best for everyone. We are so grateful for her leadership and dedication to service!

Jillian Martinez – UCLA, Soccer

In between classes and soccer training, Jillian continues to find time to give back to her community. It’s no surprise that the students at Los Angeles Elementary Schools love her presence, as Jillian continues to bring energy and enthusiasm to our AFH Fit Program. She’s the type of teammate that makes others around her better. Thank you Jillian for encouraging students to stay physically active!

Courtney Henderson – LSU, Soccer

Courtney is an extremely hard worker and an outstanding leader. On top of being a fiery midfielder for the varsity LSU Women’s Soccer team, she served as LSU’s SAAC Representative. Courtney has led the LSU Soccer team into great community engagement initiatives. After learning about The Parole Project, she coordinated a game day experience for previously incarcerated men as a positive and uplifting step as they re-enter the community. We are so lucky to have Courtney in the AFH Community and can’t wait to see what she does next!

 

Taryn Antoine – LSU, Softball

Not only is Taryn a junior outfielder on the LSU Softball team, she is also an AFH Intern and has been an incredible resource for all of LSU’s team leads. Taryn has a passion for serving others. Not only does she volunteer, connect AFH with athletes and provide awesome outreach, but does it all while balancing a full academic and athletic course load.

 

Landon Auzenne – Southern U, Football

Landon is a self-motivated leader on Southern University’s Football team. Landon will do just about anything to make you smile. For instance, during the Dancing with Big Buddy event, Landon was brave enough to compete and represent his team all by himself. His out-going and giving personality tells a lot about his character and what he’ll do for his community. Thankful for Landon and all his incredible work!

 

Morgan Lowe – Ohio State, Gymnastics

Morgan is extremely committed to community service. In addition to being a full-time student-athlete, Morgan took matters into her own hands when it came to finding service opportunities during the pandemic. Prior to Covid-19, Morgan arranged monthly hospital visits with her teammates. Thanks to Morgan, she and her teammates created a way to virtually promote physical fitness to schools across the state of Ohio and has participated in the AFH U Sports Philanthropy Certificate Program. We are so grateful to have Morgan in the AFH community!

 

Olivia Gunter – LSU, Gymnastics

Olivia is a recent LSU graduate and former member of the LSU Gymnastics team. Last August, when Hurricane Laura hit southern Louisiana, Olivia stopped at nothing to help those affected in her community. She led her team’s fundraising efforts that raised funds to purchase hurricane relief supplies. Olivia is constantly giving back by volunteering with many local nonprofits and charities. We are so lucky to have been able to work with Olivia!

2020-2021 AFH U Awards: Team Finalists

Michigan State Field Hockey 

Traditionally, MSU Field Hockey competes in the Fall which leaves an abundance of service opportunities in the Spring. Even with the season getting pushed to the spring due to COVID-19, the team didn’t stop giving back to the Greater Lansing community. MSU Field Hockey went above and beyond when it came down to participating in the Contact-less Food Drive Donation in March. Not only did they have the highest team participation, they also provided over 1,000 meals to those in need.

 

LSU Beach Volleyball

In a year where they reached the NCAA Championship, LSU Beach Volleyball also took time for acts of service. Taking advantage of their travel schedule, they collected toiletries from hotels they stayed in and continuously donated them to a local charity which distributes these necessary items to those in need.

 

Macalester Women’s Basketball

The Macalester Women’s Basketball team jumped into service this year after participating in an AFH workshop through the NCAA. After the workshop, they immediately asked AFH to connect them with service opportunities in their community. The Macalester Basketball team supported homeless youth through the Kids in Need Foundation and administered AFH Fit visits with a local elementary school. This team has proactively sought opportunities to serve and continue to be leaders in their community and on campus.

 

Georgetown Women’s Rowing

The Georgetown Rowing team was quick to jump into service after their September workshop. 10 of their members immediately started mentoring with Strong Girls United, while others joined the AFH Sports Philanthropy Certificate Program. A few rowers are currently investing more time in matters that they’ve grown passionate about. The team inspires others through their commitment to service.

 

Southern U Baseball

Southern Baseball kicked off the semester strong while assisting Cedarcrest-Southmoor Elementary School as they prepared for the return of students after the abrupt closure due to Covid-19. Located in Baton Rouge, LA the team was eager to assist with Hurricane Laura’ relief efforts by teaming up with the Cajun Navy. Following this action, they sorted and loaded supplies for those affected in Lake Charles. The entire Southern Baseball program voluntarily participates in service together and continues to support the Baton Rogue community.

 

LSU Women’s Soccer

The LSU Women’s Soccer team took it upon themselves to get active and make an impact in their community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the strict health guidelines, the team created appreciation cards for the health care workers at the Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. On top of this genuine act of service, the team created care packages for the residents at Heritage Manor in Baton Rouge.

LSU SAAC

LSU SAAC coordinated a toy drive collecting over 100 Christmas gifts for youth in the Big Buddy program. With a surplus of toys, Big Buddy was able to donate toys to another agency in order to support families in need during the holiday season. They have also been active in service and advocacy events on campus throughout the year.

 

Our Impact in 2019

Athletes for Hope served more athletes and communities than ever before in 2019. Through our programs such as AFH FIT, AFH University and Global Gender Equality, we positively impacted tens of thousands of underserved people in communities around the globe, equipped hundreds of athletes with the tools to be effective community advocates, and connected those athletes to organizations they care about all over the world! A huge thank you to all of our friends, partners, and AFH’s network of more than 7,000 professional, Olympic and college athletes – the incredible 2019 highlights below would not be possible without you.

AFH FIT:

The AFH FIT program made huge strides in 2019. We developed a brand new curriculum called C.H.A.M.P.S (Courage, Honesty, Accountability, Mindfulness, Perseverance, and Sportsmanship), and we have utilized this new curriculum in reaching and impacting more than 100,000 underserved children this year through 200 school and after-school visits, and our virtual program which utilizes C.H.A.M.P.S. Challenge Videos.

AFH University:

In 2019 AFH U added two new campuses (UCLA and Georgetown), increased our overall service hours by 71% and expanded the number of community partners by 85%. Over 2,500 AFH student-athletes participated in visits with charitable organizations across eight different college campuses in the 2018-2019 school year, positively impacting thousands of underserved individuals. We also initiated our first national Student-Athlete and Team of the Year Award and held our first year-end service recognition events in Baton Rouge and Lansing, Michigan.

Global Gender Equality Program:

In July of this year, Athletes for Hope was selected as one of five sport specialists in the world to speak at the United Nations General Assembly on Gender Equality and the Sustainable Development Goals. We created and funded the premiere Gender Equality Summit at the 2019 World Cup that reached 63 million people on social media. We also developed a Gender Equality Curriculum & phase one research for the European Union SWinG Female Mentorship.

AFH Celebrates 13 Years at the 2019 Gala:

The AFH Gala this November was a smashing success! 320 guests joined us for a night of celebrations, as we honored philanthropic advisor Stephen Whisnant, Former NFL player and philanthropists Derrick and Emma Dockery, and professional soccer player Megan Oyster. We  are very close to confirming an event date and location (most likely mid- November) for 2020. Stay tuned! Read this wrap up of the event and view pictures.

Focusing Our Eyes on 2020:

Thank you for all you’ve done to support AFH this year- we wouldn’t be here without you. With your continued support, we can make 2020 the most impactful yet. If you would like to make a year-end donation to Athletes for Hope, you can do so here.

USC Athletes Give Back During the Day in Troy Event

On March 3, 2019 the AFH U team was excited to attend the Day in Troy event with several of the University of Southern California (USC) student-athlete teams. We were on site to help kick off the educational and fun day with an hour long Empowerment workshop with over 50 student-athletes from USC Rowing, Golf, Track and Field, and Soccer.

These student-athletes then took what they’d learned at the workshop and jumped right into the Day in Troy event on campus with over 5,000 kids and families from LA City Schools that were invited to participate. Student-athletes signed posters, cards and shirts while kids played carnival games, watched a Trojan Outreach video and Women’s Basketball game at the Galen Center. We loved being there to educate and inspire a new round of student-athletes to service, and seeing them put their enthusiasm to work by engaging with such a large group from the community. We look forward to connecting these teams to service and recognizing those efforts in the community. These student-athletes are excelling on the fields and in their academics and we couldn’t be prouder to work with them! Photos courtesy Scot Obler, Board of USC Trojan Outreach.