Louisville, Arkansas Tech and Western Connecticut State have earned the NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition Award.
NCAA Team Works, which coordinates community service efforts at the NCAA championships, and Helper Helper partnered to create a challenge to recognize student-athletes who give back to their communities. The competition runs each Fall (Sept. – Nov.) winners determined by the number of participating student-athletes and service hours completed. Because Helper Helper’s digital platform tracks the school participation data throughout the competition we can update participants of their progress.
Louisville earned first place. Nearly all of the programs 700+ student-athletes participated in community outreach, totaling 6,816 hours collectively. Students participated in 180 total events, combining to spend over 600 hours at Norton’s Children’s Hospital. As well as hosting 36 youth events with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana.
“We are incredibly proud to be as highly ranked in community service as we are in athletics. We have great leaders in our athletic department that provide our student athletes an opportunity to give back to so many causes in the Louisville community. Our student athletes love giving back and are learning a great while doing so.” – Vince Tyra, Director of Athletics.
“The city of Louisville rallies around all of the student-athletes here, so we love when we get the opportunity to give back to the community that continues to give us so much! Finishing at the top of the Helper Helper challenge is awesome to know that we are impacting this city in a positive way!” – Celene Funke, Senior Softball Player | SAAC | ACC Representative.
For the second year in row the student-athletes at Arkansas Tech earned First-place honors in the Division II category. The school had 100 percent participation from its student-athletes, who completed 5,706 hours of work in the community. The athletes could be seen volunteering all over Russellville, including Jacob’s Place, the Ronald McDonald House and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. One of the biggest projects involved 500 hours volunteering in support of “Paint the Town Green and Gold”.
“Community service comes naturally to our student-athletes and coaches because that’s who we are as an institution. It never feels like work when we are in a school or elsewhere in the community making a difference. It is just as important to us as winning games and graduating students. If we don’t develop and continuously enhance a culture of service above self, then we are falling short of our responsibility to produce the leaders of tomorrow for our state, our region and our world.” – Abby Davis, ATU interim Director of Athletics
“When you come to Arkansas Tech to play sports, you aren’t just signing up to play your sport. You have many responsibilities, and one of them is community service because service plays a huge role in the Arkansas Tech athletics program. When we are at an elementary school and working with younger kids, we get to be role models because they think we are superstars.” – Hunter Eshnaur, a four-year letter winner with the ATU volleyball program.
The Division III award goes to the student-athletes of Western Connecticut State University. During the challenge WestConn had 430 student-athletes participate in outreach, logging 2,898 hours. With 1,697 hours coming from the “WCSU Day of Service” where athletes participated in events throughout Danbury. They also participated in other activities throughout the challenge including youth clinics and A Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“Community service has always been a central pillar of the athletic experience at WestConn. We are supported each day by the campus and surrounding communities, and giving back through service is one way we can express our gratitude. Our teams have contributed over 2,800 hours of service so far this academic year, and that number continues to grow. Though we certainly don’t engage in service activities for the recognition. Finishing at the top of the NCAA Team Works Challenge is a testament to the commitment our teams have made to give back and support the community. Helper Helper has allowed us to truly see the impact we are making as a department within the Greater Danbury area.” – Lori Mazza, WestConn Director of Athletics and Recreational Sport.
“Community service means so much more than just fulfilling hours. By giving back, we help to spread the necessary love to make the community and world a better place. In our case, the opportunity to give back to the Greater Danbury community that supports us is the greatest benefit of our service. And an important part of being a WestConn student-athlete. All in all, the process is very easy: donate some time and have an impact – nothing else we do is more rewarding.” – Jessica Davis, Senior Women’s Basketball player.
Finishing behind Louisville in the Division I competition were the University of New Orleans and Towson. Division II runner-ups included University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Georgia Southwestern. Alma College and Albion College rounded out the Division III second and third-place spots.
The NCAA will honor the student-athletes at Louisville, Arkansas Tech and Western Connecticut this spring on their respective campuses. This is the sixth NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition. Student-athletes combined to log 255,603 hours of community service on Helper Helper representing an economic impact of $6.5M. Continuing to grow this year’s total shows a 31% increase in hours served and a total of 10,000 volunteer opportunities with local organizations.