Athletes connect with the community through service projects

By Gina DeFazio

A horde of children rushed to the basketball court together, all excited to get started. Upon entering the court, they immediately started shooting hoops. Laughter rang out all over the court.

When sophomore Parris Rawls found herself in the middle of this service assignment, leading a basketball camp for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at Magdalen Catholic School in Wichita two weeks ago, she wasn’t expected to be inspired.

“They were very excited to learn and that gave me motivation,” said Rawls.

The women’s basketball team’s experience reflects Hesston’s commitment to service, and a top priority in the athletic department.

“We believe community service plays a significant role in showing our community we care about them and want to engage them outside of the athletic playing field,” said Chris Nachtigall, Hesston’s athletic director.

Other teams have followed suit. In August, the women’s soccer team went next door to Schowalter Villa to eat dinner with residents there. They also helped out at soccer practices at Hesston Middle School.

This summer, the men’s soccer team went to camp Mennoscah in Kingman County, KS for a week to help paint, cut wood, remove weeds, and clean up the area. They also spent time at Schowalter Villa, eating dinner with the residents there. The cross country team visited Villa residents as well, and they helped out at the first home basketball games.

The volleyball team at the Newton Habitat Humanity house. Photo courtesy of Coach Casey Cole.

In September, the volleyball team worked at Newton’s Habitat for Humanity house, laying down sod and mulch as well as washing windows.

The softball team goes to the Newton animal shelter about every other Tuesday to play with the animals and clean areas for adoption events.

Both the men’s basketball and baseball teams did yard work at a local home.

In the end, Nachtigall says service is about modeling faith.

“We also believe that Christ calls us to serve those around us and we want to represent Christ to our community,” he said.

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