By Michaela Fendley
Providing service to a community that supports the Auburn Family is a primary objective for the Auburn Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), so it comes as no surprise that 17 Auburn student-athletes and two Auburn Athletics staff members travelled to Mobile, Ala., for a weekend community service trip.
Lakin Eddy, SAAC President, created this trip to expose student-athletes to more service opportunities outside of the Auburn area. The goal of this trip was to go to an area of Alabama that was in need of help, and after contacting Habitat for Humanity, the Mobile region was selected as the destination.
“We were told the Mobile area was where the greatest need was in the state. We spend all year giving back to our local community, but we wanted to go the extra mile to show that the Auburn Family has no boundaries. We wanted to help out those who need it most,” said Eddy.
The group left for Mobile Friday afternoon and started their first project early Saturday morning. Through Habitat for Humanity, they were assigned help a lady who struggled with maintaining her home after her husband passed away. The students worked all day to repaint and caulk the outside of the house as well as putting baseboards in the rooms inside the house.
Sunday morning, the group went to Prichard, Alabama to work with a nonprofit organization called Light of the Village, a faith-based organization dedicated to inner city children. They spent the day mentoring the children of the area, spending time with them and doing what they do best, playing sports. The athletes left a huge impact on the children after spending only a day with them.
“I thought this weekend was an incredible experience. We got to see and help areas and people that we normally never would. We also got to expand our views while having a great time. I look forward to doing the trip again,” said Kullen Hlawek, from gymnastics.
Along with serving the community, this trip allowed athletes from different sports to bond with each other. With members of the football, equestrian, gymnastics, soccer, golf and track and field teams participating in the trip, the students were given the opportunity to spend time with other Auburn athletes outside of the members of their own teams.
“The community service trip really meant a lot to me and is by far one of the best things I’ve done while being at Auburn. I am so thankful for being given the opportunity from the athletic department to help serve in the community and make a difference in other people’s lives. I am glad I met other athletes outside of my sport and was able to develop a friendship with them,” said track and field athlete Amber Murrell.