By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Christmas will be a bit more festive for 15 needy New Albany kids, thanks to IU Southeast student-athletes.
The 20 Grenadiers, organized by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), responded to a call for volunteers from the Rotary Club of New Albany, which had donated $750 for gifts, to be distributed through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree initiative.
With a budget of $50 per lucky child, the students supplied the legwork and the quasi-familial acumen, shopping for gifts at various stores in the Green Tree Mall in Clarksville, Indiana.
“We wanted to get together outside of the classroom and athletic events and be able to give back to the community,” said Jacob Frankel, a junior from Louisville, Kentucky, incoming president of the SAAC and a member of the Grenadiers baseball team.
The students bought gifts ranging from toys and clothes to sporting goods.
Frankel picked out a basketball, soccer ball and football.
“I love being able to give kids the chance to have fun and play a sport they like,” Finkel said.
The gifts were then placed under the Angel Tree display.
Angel Tree is a traditional Salvation Army program designed to enable community members to personally provide toys, warm clothing and vital items to specific children in need. Once a qualifying child has been “adopted” as an angel, she or he receives a special bag of gifts from under the angel tree, located in the mall. Last year, the program brought gifts and warm clothing to some 3,000 children across the country.
“The SAAC wanted to serve with Angel Tree because it was a great way to involve a large number of student athletes in a project that allowed them to think about others and to give back to the community with their time and effort,” said Jeannie Soto, a senior from Louisville, Kentucky, president of the SAAC and a member of the Grenadiers tennis team.
This involvement was just one way that Grenadier student-athletes have demonstrated their bond with the community, and expressed their gratitude for the community’s support, be it in the form of sponsorships or turnout.
“I believe that every member of a community should give back to their community out of their strengths and out of the things that they have been blessed with,” Soto said. “College students may not have a lot of money to give back to the community at this time in their lives, but they do have their time and their effort, so it’s nice to give them the opportunity to use what they have to make a difference for others.”
Homepage photo: Lindsey Keen, a junior softball player from Monrovia, Indiana majoring in Education, finds the perfect gift.