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Community outreach enriches athletics

Grenfell is a junior public relations and management double major and can be reached at carly.grenfell@drake.edu.

Sometimes, all it takes is giving a little. But your little may indeed be a lot to some. One of the things we emphasize in our program is getting involved in the community. Whether it is handing out posters at the local farmers market, putting on camps for girls of all ages or spending a day at the Boys and Girls Club — the impact it has is something special. There are a couple experiences that really stand out to me. I can honestly say that even if I don’t ever win a championship in my career, this aspect of college athletics will make it well worth it.

Most people would drag their head at the thought of teaching little girls the fundamentals of basketball. As exhausting as it can be, it is next to impossible to forget how much they look up to us as their “coaches.” Every once in awhile someone will come up to you and say, “You are really good!” What’s not to love about that? It is not everyday you get a compliment of that nature. And even though many of them may not take the sport of basketball seriously, they are old enough to understand that we do. I guarantee even the slightest gesture from us towards them makes their day. And that’s what it is all about. Not the publicity, not the money we bring in, but the example we can set for hundreds of girls.

This summer, we had the opportunity to spend time with kids from the Boys and Girls Club on a couple of different occasions. This setting was a little different from putting on a basketball camp. For those who may not know, this club is an after-school program for underprivileged kids. We worked primarily with the younger age groups, but high school-aged boys and girls can attend as well. What made this so cool was the fact we were able to go back a second time. The majority of them remembered who we were — you can only imagine how much they lit up at the sight of us. It was amazing, in just an hour, that you could tell how much they are exposed to at home. For them to interact with vivacious college students means the world.

By giving a little, we are actually giving a lot. The reality is that people know who we are. And we are held to a higher standard because of it. It may seem like a lot of pressure, however, it is the type of pressure you want to have. If you ever get the chance to interact with kids or people in a similar setting, I would encourage anyone to dive into that opportunity.  Believe me when I say you won’t regret it! It is an hour or two of your day in which the benefits of such a short amount of time simply cannot be measured.

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