July 17, 2008
This summer, Auburntigers.com will feature weekly stories highlighting community service related activities that current and former student-athletes along with Auburn coaches have been, and will be, participating in. If you know of any former Auburn athletes or coaches that are participating in that you would like to see featured on Auburntigers.com, please send your ideas to email@example.com.
Though balancing academics and athletics can make for a full schedule in itself, members of the Auburn Women's Basketball team still make time for community outreach.
Over the past year virtually every team member has contributed in some way to help make a positive impact on area youth. Even member of the Auburn women's basketball support staff got involved.
Administrative assistant Arnika Clements got things started in February, participating as a celebrity judge at the Fifth-Annual Black History Knowledge Bowl at J.F. Drake Middle School in Auburn. The comeptition pitted four teams of Drake students against one another in a Jeopardy-style bowl. Teams had the opportunity to answer questions from various categories that focused on the achievements of African-Americans.
An event that helped draw on the players' motivational talents was the SAT Kickoff Pep Rally held at Beauregard Elementary this past March. The event was centered on helping prepare students for the challenges of taking the SAT and how they could make it a success.
The rally involved third and fourth graders and was held outside on the school grounds. The school set up a stage, provided music and also involved the Beauregard High School cheerleaders.
Tiger players talked to the kids about study habits, getting motivated to test and doing their best.
"The kids were able to see them in a different view, not just as basketball players," said Clements, who attended the rally along with the players. "The players also had an opportunity to mingle and dance with the kids after speaking to the group, which made it a really special experience for everyone."
In addition to going off campus, several team members took time this June to host nearly 50 youth campers from Auburn United Methodist Church's summer JAM Camp. The two week camp welcomes a different group of kids each day and takes them on field trips to different places.
On this particular day the group got to visit Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum and take a tour of the team locker room. Following the tour, the players spoke to the group about how they balance basketball, school work and life in general.
The tour concluded at the auxiliary practice gym where the group got to compete in a few games and activities to earn special Auburn prizes.
Afterward, the players stuck around to sign some autographs and get to know some of the kids there for the camp.
"My favorite thing is the impact that we make on the kids," said Tiger guard Sherell Hobbs. "Just us going out there and talking and playing with those children made my day."
These are just a few examples of the many outreach efforts the Auburn players and coaches make both during the season and in the off-season. For more information on Auburn student-athlete community service projects, or to get one involved in your service project, contact Auburn Coordinator of Community Relations Latisha Durroh at firstname.lastname@example.org.