lsu Archives - Athletes for Hope

Join us in breaking down the stigma: become a Mental Health Champion today

AFH University Service Recognition

AFH University Service Recognition

Each month we ask our AFH University campus liaisons for nominations of student-athletes and teams who excelled in service. Through our monthly nominations, we are able to acknowledge all of the good our student-athletes and teams are doing in their communities.

“I’d just like to put it out there that I just witnessed the most amazing bowling tournament ever. Every person I worked with could beat me in a bowling game if I tried to play them. It was a fun and heartwarming experience and I’d love to do it again.” – Joshua Griffin, Southern Football

Joshua Griffin, Southern Football

Student-Athlete of the Month

Our March Student-Athlete of the Month is Joshua Griffin from Southern University. Joshua is a leader in service on his team and in the community. He is always eager to be involved in service projects in any capacity he can, often being one of the first to volunteer when an opportunity arises.

“Joshua Griffin is a sports philanthropy certificate program participant that hit the ground running with service. In our first session, he was engaged and excited to share his passion for youth and the community.

Just this month, he read books to classes for Read Across America Day and volunteered for the Special Olympics State Bowling Tournament.”

Team of the Month

The March Team of the Month was none other than the LSU volleyball team. Together the team is making a positive impact in their community through service projects with local organizations.

“LSU Volleyball volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store sorting through and organizing donated items which enhanced the processing and ultimate sale of donated items.

St. Vincent de Paul thrift store is a place where customers can purchase items at bargain prices and all revenues generated are put back into programs supporting those in need.”

We are so proud of all of our student-athletes and teams who continue to go above and beyond the call of service in their communities.

Athletes In Action

March 2023 AFH University Roundup

Developed in 2013, our AFH University program helps college athletes explore leadership, life skill development, advocacy, their role in the community, and how to discover their philanthropic passions.

Each month our AFH University student-athletes are able to make a positive impact in their communities as our campus liasions dilligently pair athletes and teams to causes they care about.

During March, AFH Athletes from Georgetown, Davidson, Southern, and LSU visited schools and children’s hospitals, engaged in community events, and more!

Georgetown University

Georgetown Qatar

Georgetown women’s rowing spent 2 hours answering questions and talking about female leadership in athletics and talking about what it means to be a female student-athlete on campus with women visiting from Georgetown Qatar.

Night To Shine

Georgetown Athletics attended the Night to Shine, a prom night experience for those with special needs. During the event, each student-athlete was paired with a buddy for the duration of the evening. Everyone had a fantastic time spreading kindness all evening!

Davidson University

Ada Jenkins Center

Members of the Davidson football team attended an open gym at the newly remodeled Ada Jenkins Center basketball court. During their visit they were able to play a pickup game with a few kids. Everyone had fun learning new skills together!

Southern University

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital

Southern Football student-athletes facilitated a game of bingo in the activity room and visited the rooms of game-winners. During this visit, new friendships were made, secret handshakes were shared, and there were lots of smiles all around!

Ryan Elementary

This month, Southern University track & field kicked off Southern Athletics’ biweekly school visits to Ryan Elementary! Student-athletes plan to read books to classes, assist with physical education classes, and support school events at each of their visits.

Today was a great day! Changing lives one book at a time!

Karanay Alexander, Southern Track & Field

Read Across America Day

Student-athletes from Southern football, soccer and baseball visited Buchanan Elementary School for Read Across America Day. They visited multiple classes to read their favorite children’s books to students and received Dr. Suess-inspired certificates of participation on behalf of the school.

Louisiana State University (LSU)

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital

LSU track & field and beach volleyball continued our biweekly visits to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. The student-athletes were able to visit patients’ rooms and shared insight into their student-athlete experience. During their visit they made new friends, shared a lot of laughs, and raised the spirits of patients.

Read Across America Day

Student-athletes from LSU track & field visited Wildwood Elementary for Read Across America Day. During their visit, they were able to read their favorite children’s books to 2nd and 4th grade classrooms and asked kids how they can use reading as their superpower.

Baton Rouge

Special Olympics

LSU Gymnastics, Southern Volleyball, Southern Soccer, and Southern Football volunteered at The Special Olympics State Bowling Tournament. Student-athletes checked in participants, led stretches before the games, served as lane volunteers, and assisted with the awards ceremony.

I’d just like to put it out there that I just witnessed the most amazing bowling tournament ever. It was a fun and heartwarming experience and I’d love to do it again.

Joshua Griffin, Southern Football

Bettering their communities is something all of our AFH Athletes are passionate about. While the month of March is coming to an end, we cannot wait to see the impact they make in April!

AFH University Service Recognition

Each month we ask our AFH University campus liaisons for nominations of student-athletes and teams who excelled in service. Through our monthly nominations, we are able to acknowledge all of the good our student-athletes and teams are doing in their communities.

I really enjoyed being able to help the kids have fun for a small part of their day. I hope it brightened their day as much as it did mine.

Doria Martingayle, LSU Track & Field

Student-Athlete of the Month

Our February student-athlete of the month is Doria Martingayle from LSU. She continues to serve her community through monthly visits to Our Lady Of The Lake Children’s Hospital and encourages her teammates to join her.

“Doria visited OLOL Children’s Hospital to encourage patients and bring a little normalcy through games in the activity room.”

Team of the Month

The February team of the month was none other than Southern University’s bowling team. The SWAC champions hosted a 2-hour clinic where they encouraged senior citizens in the Baton Rouge community to get active through bowling!

“Southern University Women’s Bowling team hosted senior citizens from the Charles R. Kelly Community Center. The SWAC champs shared their tricks and how bowling is a great way to stay physically active.”

We are so proud of all of our student-athletes and teams who continue to help better their communities through service.

Athletes In Action

Honoring The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On the third Monday of each new year, we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by engaging in service projects throughout our communities nationwide. To many, Dr. King was a visionary. Uplifting his community through systemic change and encouraging others to take an active role in improving their communities.

His example is our call to action.

Our AFH University student-athletes from LSU, Southern, and Howard answered that call through eight (8) service projects in their own communities ranging from mural painting, planting shrubs, walking dogs, providing food and clothing for the less fortunate, and more.

Serve D.C.

The Howard University women’s and men’s golf teams kicked off volunteering on Saturday, January 14, with Serve DC. Together they packaged meals, created go kits, and learned critical CPR training.

Life’s most persistant and urgent questions is, “what are you doing for others?”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Peace Walk & Parade

On MLK Day, the Howard Swim & Dive team and the tennis team participated in the Peace Walk and Parade in the morning- a tradition that started over 40 years ago. The Peace Walk and Parade symbolizes the need to continue Dr. King’s work and reinforces the idea that every individual has a role to play in human progress and justice. 

If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Louisiana Key Academy

Monday, LSU Athletics hosted a “Live the Dream” Field Day at Louisiana Key Academy. Over 50 kids participated in the interactive service initiative with various stations facilitated by student-athletes highlighting their perspective sports.

MLK Day is special to me because I love giving back to my community. God has blessed me all my life and being able to give back to these kids and see them happy and smiling means the world to me.

Aristotle Abraham II, LSU Football

Forest Community Park

On Monday, Southern Volleyball, LSU Men’s Basketball, and LSU Volleyball assisted in forest restoration by planting shrubs and trees at Forest Community Park. Student-athletes moved plants from the parking lot to the restoration area, dug holes, and planted and watered plants.

Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve.

Martin Luther King

So What Else

On Monday afternoon, Howard women’s basketball, football, and lacrosse took various shifts at So What Else – whose mission is to improve the lives of children and families living in underserved communities in the Baltimore-Washington Metro Area- where they distributed meals and clothes to those less fortunate in the D.C. area. 

Doing community service on MLK Day is important to me because he [Dr. King] dedicated his entire life to service in the Black community. It’s only right that on this day we pay tribute and serve those around us.

Kaniyah Harris, Howard Women’s Basketball

The Walls Project

Southern Baseball, Southern Soccer, LSU Golf, and LSU Soccer joined The Walls Project for their annual mural painting. Student-athletes painted a mural design sketched by a local artist and assisted with clean up at Jewel J. Newman Community Center.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

Martin Luther King Jr.

St. Vincent de Paul

LSU student-athletes from various sports served in the dining hall at St. Vincent de Paul which provides hot meals to Baton Rouge’s homeless community daily.

Friends of the Animals

At the final service project on Monday, student-athletes from various LSU sports teams engaged with a new partner, Friends of the Animals Baton Rouge Shelter. They walked dogs and assisted shelter staff with general cleaning.

The life and legacy of Dr. King lives on through people like our student-athletes, who continue to dedicate themselves to bettering their community. While MLK Day has passed, you can still honor his legacy by taking the AFH MLK Service Day Pledge.

Athletes in Action

Serving Up Food, Friendship and Gratitude

Written by: Kenya Warren-Hollis, MPA, Program Manager, AFH University

For our AFH University student-athletes, the weeks before Thanksgiving are often met with studying for finals, trips back home, and winter workouts. For our Baton Rouge campuses, the week before Thanksgiving also meant an opportunity to give back to various members of their community through a week-long service project they entitled “Baton Rouge Serves With Purpose.”

As our AFH University campuses are focused on tackling the disparities of food insecurity this winter, our AFH U Baton Rouge student-athletes wanted to do their part by volunteering at various community organizations that routinely provide food, warmth, and friendship to those less fortunate.

Monday, November 14

The LSU Beach Volleyball Team kicked off AFH Baton Rouge’s “Serves with Purpose” week at Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank (GBRFB). The team worked together and assembled Thanksgiving meal boxes that were then distributed to GBRFB’s eleven parish service areas- many of which experience high levels of food insecurity. 

I enjoyed getting a chance to give back during a season centered around being grateful. It was nice to have an opportunity to remind me of all I have to be thankful for.

Reilly Allred, LSU beach volleyball

In preparation for the EBR Council on Aging’s Annual Thanksgiving luncheon, Southern Softball stopped by The Baker Municipal Center a day before the big event to help with set up. They were able to set up over 60 tables and 480 chairs to accommodate senior citizens attending the event on Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 15

Southern University Volleyball had the pleasure of serving over 400 seniors from East Baton Rouge Council on Aging centers including Baker Senior Center, Greater King David Senior Center, Jewel J. Newman Senior Center, and Chaneyville Senior Center.

Event attendees were thankful for the extra hands as student-athletes and coaches assisted them throughout the luncheon. The team even had the opportunity to meet Councilwoman Chauna Banks, Constable Terrica Williams, and City of Baker Mayor, Darnell Waites.

Wednesday, November 16

Student-athletes from LSU Gymnastics and Golf continued our biweekly visit to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s hospital. They had the opportunity to read books in the activity room, facilitate games, and visit patient rooms.

I loved having the opportunity to serve at OLOL children’s hospital and being able to make a small difference in a child’s day. Seeing them smile when in a difficult circumstance is a beautiful thing.

Michael Sanders, LSU Golf

Thursday, November 17

Southern University Football continued our AFH BR “Serves with Purpose” Week at St.Vincent de Paul. Student-athletes served lunch on a serving line, passed out to-go lunches, and engaged with guests throughout the visit. Before each lunch, dining hall coordinators take the time to pray with guests. AFH Intern and Southern student-athlete Caleb Washington took the initiative to lead everyone in prayer and uplift guests before receiving a hot meal.  

St. Vincent de Paul staff and guests were excited to meet Southern Football players ahead of the Bayou Classic, where Southern won against Grambling State 36 – 14, and the student-athletes were equally excited for the opportunity to interact with them.

Friday, November 18

Southern University Baseball closed out our week of service at a Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway hosted by Councilman Cleve Dunn and Collegiate Baton Rouge. Players passed out over 200 turkeys to families, toured the Collegiate Baton Rouge campus, and engaged with students. They also had an opportunity to be interviewed by Metro 21, the East Baton Rouge government channel that broadcasts to 150,000 households.

Today was a perfect full-circle experience, being able to work hand in hand with high school students sharing knowledge while also reminiscing on our high school days. We got to tour the school which allowed us to see the direction in which the next generation of leaders is taking us. On top of that giving turkeys to the community and seeing the smiles on their faces made us appreciate the opportunity that we had as kids and being able to take advantage of that to put us in the position to be influential to others. 

Jerry Burkett II, Southern University baseball

The holiday season is a time when we are able to reflect on all that we are grateful for and this year our student-athletes haven’t stopped saying how grateful they are to be able to give back to their communities. We are looking forward to hosting more week-long service projects across our AFH University campuses in the future.

Community Partner Highlight

Miracle Moments at Cyprus Mounds

As we built new relationships with local nonprofits in Baton Rouge, one stood out as a student-athlete favorite – The Miracle League. For those unfamiliar, The Miracle League gives children with any type of disability the opportunity to play the game of baseball. 

Since 2016, Athletes for Hope student-athletes have looked forward to Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Cypress Mounds.

This is a great opportunity to give back to the culture around us and we enjoy every second of it.

Gavin Dugas, LSU Baseball

Our involvement has not only brought joy to the young Miracle League athletes but to LSU and Southern University student-athletes as well. Serving as buddies, protecting players during the game, and cheering them on has been a rewarding experience while contributing to a positive environment for all participants. Our 2019 & 2022 AFH Partner of the Year participant stated, “It’s been unbelievable. The Miracle League players love it when athletes come out to join them.”- Charlene Lauman, Miracle League- Volunteer Coordinator for the 2022 fall season.

Everyone should go watch or volunteer at the Miracle League! It’s truly a blast to be out there with those kids because all they want to do is have fun! That’s what the game is all about. Each and every single one of them puts a smile on my face. I’m already looking forward to my next game because they are so much fun!

McKenzie Odgen, Southern University Softball.

AFH Baton Rouge teams made weekly visits to their friends over at Cypress Mounds- never missing a game during the entirety of the fall 2022 season. It wasn’t long until their dedication and commitment to their community started getting noticed on a larger scale. Local news station WBRZ made a trip out to Cypress Mounds to watch our student-athletes from LSU in action.

Following LSU Baseball’s visit in October, they posted to their social media platforms “Thank you to the Miracle League at Cypress Mounds for having us and we can’t wait to see y’all at Alex Box this season!”

We are looking forward to returning for the spring season to support our buddies at The Miracle League.