Saturday, January 24, 2015

Eagles Nesting in FGCU's Local Community

Student-athletes from the Florida Gulf Coast University softball, women’s golf and men’s basketball teams continued to make an impact in the Fort Myers, Fla., community during the fall of 2014, reaching out to several local organizations and putting faces to the A-Sun’s mission of "Building Winners for Life."

In September, FGCU softball kicked off the Eagles’ service at separate sites for different causes on two-consecutive weekends.

September 13, the team aided in a Publix “Stuff the Bus” promotion that benefited the Harry Chapin Food Bank. The Eagles split into two teams, with one standing outside a Naples Publix passing out flyers to customers entering the grocery store. The flyers explained how anyone could easily donate and asked for their help. At checkout, customers had the option to donate a bag of food to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. The bags were used to fill a school bus with donations, which were in turn brought to the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

The second group of Green and Blue athletes was stationed at Harry Chapin Food Bank warehouse. Teammates worked together to unload incoming buses from various Publix locations, and loaded an incredible 16 pallets of donations which were then loaded onto trucks to be distributed to areas in need. JoAnna Bradshaw, wife of FGCU President Dr. Wilson G. Bradshaw and Chairman of the food bank, estimated that a total of 16,000 pounds of food were unloaded.

The following weekend, the team volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, tearing down parts of the home as the ‘demolition team.’  The team met at a house in Lehigh Acres, where its tasks including removal of all of the siding off the outside of the house, taking out two walls in the garage, removing old cabinets and light fixtures, removing wallpaper, taking out the screened-in front walkway and removing base boards.

The team’s proficiency in the demolition actually enabled an early finish, which opened doors for new opportunities. A portion of the team also visited another house in the area and spent time during renovation that included painting the ceiling and cleaning up the outside entrance, in turn making a difference for two families in Southwest Florida.

Eagles’ women's golf also invested in multiple local organizations in the fall of 2014, volunteering with the Salvation Army for the third-straight season along with teaming with a local golf event for children.

At the Salvation Army, the Eagles sorted and prepared donated food that would be distributed for the holiday season.

"We were really happy to help out at the Salvation Army again this year," said senior Georgia Price. "They receive a tremendous amount of donations during the holidays. We were glad that we could help sort through them so they were ready for when families came to collect for Thanksgiving and Christmas."

The team also volunteered at the Junior Tee at the CME Titleholders course. In conjunction with CME Titleholders, the event hosted a clinic for boys and girls of all ages. The team, with Coach Trew, joined instructors from around the area to teach full swing, short game and putting.

"We had so much fun volunteering at Tiburon!" continued Price. "The First Tee and other junior golf organizations are so important to the growth of the game and it's vital that as collegiate golfers we serve as role models for young kids. We taught them ways to practice and why they should respect the game. It was clear that we had an impact on them and it felt amazing!"

Throughout the fall semester, the Men’s Basketball team also volunteered for “Eagle Reading” each week at Three Oaks Elementary and Pine Woods Elementary reading books to various classes.

Last but not least, the Eagles Club Board of Advisors began a Community Awareness initiative at local elementary schools where various student-athletes from each sport speak to kids about the importance of academics.

As you can see, the Eagles were flying high when it came to their investment into local organizations, helping student-athletes reach their potential not only in athletics and academics but as contributing members of their community as well – the third integral component of "Building Winners for Life."

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