D3 WEEK Day 4: AMCC STUDENT-ATHLETES DEDICATE TIME AWAY FROM CLASSROOMS, SPORTS TO COMMUNITY SERVICE

D3 WEEK Day 4: AMCC STUDENT-ATHLETES DEDICATE TIME AWAY FROM CLASSROOMS, SPORTS TO COMMUNITY SERVICE

AMCC student-athletes completed over 40 comunity service projects from the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year through the end of March. As part of DIII Week, we would like to highlight all of the hard work our student-athletes dedicate to their local communities throughout the school year, as these hours are on top of the time they devote to their studies and their sports.

D'Youville College student-athletes participated in several community service projects that supported multiple different organizations such as breast cancer awareness, with their women's volleyball and basketball "pink"games, and pediatric cancer with with their men's basketball "gold" game. Spartan women's basketball players also created homemade Valentine's Day cards for local sick children, and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and men's basketball team helped to feed needy families during Thanksgiving. 

The Franciscan University women's softball team kicked off the school year by volunteering their time throughout the fall season with the Ohio Valley Miracle League, an organized baseball/softball league for special needs children and adults. The Baron women's volleyball team also hosted a breast cancer awareness game in September, and was subsequently honored by the Side Out Foundation for ranking in the top three of NCAA Division III schools by raising $2,261 at that event.

Hilbert College student-athletes volunteered their time with a plethora of organizations so far this year. The Hawks men's basketball team got things started in September when they participated in their fourth annual Adopt-a-Highway program with the Criminal Justice Department and helped to clean a two mile stretch of roadway near campus. The men's and women's cross country teams volunteered their services at the Lou Reuter Scholarship Run on October 16, while the baseball team spent an evening bowling with Special Olympic athletes. For the second year in a row, the women's basketball team held an instructional basketball clinic for students at St. Mary's School for the Deaf (SMSD) in North Buffalo and the women's soccer team joined their efforts in support of the Gregory D Spring Foundation, which strives to shine light on bullying prevention and suicide awareness programs. The men's basketball team continued to give back to the community as they teamed up with the Buffalo City Mission to help provide meals to those less fortunate during the holidays and also participated in the Second Annual Family Fitness Night at Big Tree Elementary School.

The La Roche College men's basketball program teamed up with Pine Richland middle schoolers for Literacy Day in November. The idea of Literacy Day was to help students realize that strong literacy skills will positively impact their futures. Also in the fall, the Redhawk men's soccer team named kindergartner Leo Zamori, who is currently battling Leukemia, an honorary captain for their game against Bethany College. In December, the baseball team volunteered at The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, which is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to the less fortunate in Pennsylvania. A total of 11 cities in greater Pittsburgh were impacted by this community service event.

The Mount Aloysius College women's bowling team spent an October day bowling with the Speical Olympic athletes, where they facilitated warmups, made treat bags, served lunch and coached 98 Special Olympic athletes throughout the day. The men's and women's cross country teams served Thanksgiving dinners at a local church, and a group of student-athletes traveled to Camden, NJ during their winter break to work with many different people in an area of the country in great need. They sorted food at a food bank, visited nursing homes, worked at schools, served at homeless shelters and much more. Most notable is the fact that Mount Aloysius earned a National Association of Division III Athletics Administration Jostens Community Service Award for their participation in the recent Night to Shine event. Night to Shine is a national effort sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation that helps special needs young adults, 16 and older, have an unforgettable prom experience.

In October, Medaille College student-athletes volunteered their time to spread a little joy to some of the patients at The Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo on Tuesday afternoon. They took with them a number of goodies to brighten the spirits of some of the incredibly brave boys and girls at Children’s Hospital. The goodies included t-shirts, jerseys, and handmade care kits that student-athletes put together during the student-athlete orientation. The care kits, that were the idea of Medaille’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, included coloring books, candy, stuffed animals, and written notes of encouragement from all the student-athletes at Medaille. In addition, the men's and women's basketball teams hosted a very special Autism Awareness Night where they were able to collect and donate $200 to the Organization for Autism Awareness. 

Penn State Altoona student-athletes hosted multiple cancer awareness game this year, including the men's and women's basketball doubleheader against Behrend on Saturday, January 14 where the focus was on pediatric cancer, as the Lions and Lady Lions supported Go4TheGoal.org's “Lace Up Against Pediatric Cancer” drive. On Sunday, January 15, when the men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted D’Youville College, the Penn State Altoona hoops programs continued their annual partnership with the Griffith Family Foundation and its “Sideline Cancer” initiative, which is aimed at the fight against pancreatic cancer. November is Military Appreciation Month, and the Lion men’s basketball team showed its support by volunteering at an event for veterans on Saturday, November 5 at Penn State University’s Bryce Jordan Center. Additionally, in December, the women's basketball team and coaching staff donated their time to help instruct the Mowrie A. Ebner Elementary School's fourth grade girls basketball team at the Booker T. Washington Center in Altoona. 

The Penn State Behrend SAAC raised money and participated in the Polar Plunge in November at Presque Isle State Park. In all, Behrend raised $1,805 that will go directly to the local Special Olympics, $1,600 of which was raised by the water polo program. In addition to the Polar Plunge, the entire Behrend SAAC committe, along with many teammates, raised funds for the Erie Food Bank by participating in the cardboard city event on campus. This was a 24 hour event where students lived in cardboard boxes to replicate being homeless. The Lion baseball team also participated in a couple of projects of their own, including their annual fundraiser for Grady's Decision. The team voluntarily got haircuts to raise money for the organization, which is a non-profit organization run by Lions alumni Ryan Smith which was created to help families experiencing premature births as well as those families with children needing specialized medical attention. Grady's Decision can assist with parking costs, food, housing near hospitals and transportation needs. The baseball coaching staff and 11 players also visited the Penn State Behrend Child Care Center, spending the day playing kickball, duck, duck, goose, and freeze tag with the kids. 

The Pitt-Bradford SAAC got things going in the fall as they organized and donated 20 Thanksgiving dinner baskets to the Bradford Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) during the week of Thanksgiving. Each Panther athletic team donated non-perishable items, such as macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, and greens. The Panther softball team also pitched in during the Thanksgiving holiday, as they helped the Bradford Manor with its annual Harvest Dinner. Each year the Bradford Manor hosts a Thanksgiving-themed dinner for its senior citizens and invites their families to participate. More than 200 people attended this year's event. The Panthers assisted in preparing food, serving meals and leading post-dinner activities, including finger nail painting and card games. Also in November, members of the Pitt-Bradford baseball team helped the wife of a deceased police officer winterize her home. Several members of the baseball team spent an afternoon mowing the yard, raking leaves and cleaning the gutters at Hopkins' home.

For the seventh year in a row, the Pitt-Greensburg women's basketball players and coaches took part in the Westmoreland County Project Bundle Up. They took children and senior citizens on personal shopping trips to select their winter outerwear. They also assisted the Salvation Army in a variety of other ways, including checking-in families, explaining and distributing vouchers, and helping cashiers track and bag purchases. The Lady Bobcats also volunteered their time with the Salvation Army Thanksgiving Dinner and the Salvation Army Toy Room, as well as taking part in a Special Olympics basketball practice.  The men's and women's basketball teams partnered together for ther Sixth Annual SOPA Hoops Saturday to benefit the Special Olympics athletes and also hosted a "Play 4 Kay" breast cancer awareness game in February. In January, the Bobcat baseball team spent a day volunteering their time with the Westmoreland County Food Bank.