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Student athletes give back to community

Assisstant Sports Editor

Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 12:02

Being a college athlete might be tougher than one would think.

In addition to practice, lifting weights, classes, homework and everyday activities, college athletes often volunteer their time to give back.

Throughout the year, Marshall athletes help instruct clinics and camps for children.

The opportunities allow athletes a chance to give back to the community that supports them.

Junior volleyball player, Laura Der, said she understands the importance of outreach.

“I think it’s important to give back, because without this community and their hard work, we wouldn’t be at Marshall,” Der said. “It helps build a sense of community and lend a helping hand. Volleyball isn’t a huge sport around here, so I always try to show the kids that it is fun and something they could pursue.”

Marshall Athletics held the 16th Annual Sweetheart Clinic, Sunday. The clinic allowed girls ages 4-12 an opportunity to learn about each of Marshall’s nine women’s sports.

Volleyball player Jaylene Berrien, said she loves the idea of the Sweetheart Clinic.

“I love the Sweetheart Clinic,” Berrien said. “It’s nice that the girls can get a feel for all the sports before they know if they like it or not.”

The Sweetheart Clinic is just one outreach that the volleyball team likes to help with.

Throughout the year, the volleyball team plans camps for organizations such as Girl Scouts and elementary schools.

“It’s fun to interact with such young kids,” Berrien said. “They love everything at that age. I encourage them all to try athletics, because it teaches them commitment, hard work and mental toughness that is needed for the real world.”

Der said she agrees with Berrien about teaching children.

“I love coaching little kids; they’re my favorite,” Der said. “They are so energetic and love life. It’s always a good time.”

Other Marshall sports teams participate in teaching young kids the essentials of the game. Women’s soccer hosts summer day camps for girls and the softball team runs a mentor program for young girls who play softball.

The Lil Sis Program lets girls adopt a Marshall softball player as a friend, role model and mentor and gives them the opportunity to see the game of softball played at a competitive level while building a friendship with the athletes.

Some of the outreach is required, but Der said that would not be a problem for the volleyball team.

“We are required to do it, but it never feels that way because I know we’d all want to do it anyway,” Der said.

Der said she thinks all college athletes should have the experience of giving back and doing outreach.

“All college athletes should give back,” Der said. “It helps remind us how blessed and privileged we really are.”

Caitie Smith can be contacted at smith1650@marshall.edu.

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