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 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.