WASHINGTON - As part of a campus-wide campaign, student-athletes of The Catholic University of America participated in this past Monday’s MLK Day of Service. The Cardinals volunteered side-by-side with their teammates and coaches along with other Catholic University organizations to serve the Brookland and greater D.C. community.
“Giving back to the community through service is an essential part of what it means to be a Catholic University Cardinal,” said freshman swimmer Molly Donnellan. “It was an amazing experience to represent the University, not only in the pool but throughout the community.”
This is the 13th-consecutive year Catholic University has organized service projects on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. When the University’s MLK Day of Service began in 2006, 26 volunteers participated. This past Monday there were over 800 volunteers.
“As a student-catholic at Catholic, I think giving back to the community is an integral part of our college experience,” said sophomore baseball player Connor Sullivan. “It gives us a chance to reflect on the opportunities that we have been given and use them to better the lives of other people.”
Catholic student-athletes spent their day off all over the DMV and served a variety of communities from the outdoors at the City of Hyattsville Parks & Recreation Department to school-aged children at Yu-Ying Public Charter School.
The men’s soccer team traveled to the 801 men’s shelter where they assisted with cleaning and organizing of the shelter with tasks such as folding laundry and cleaning the landscape. The men’s lacrosse team headed across town to the Washington Hebrew Congregation where they helped prepare foods for local food shelters.
The men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams visited the Carroll Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation at Providence Hospital. They spent the morning entertaining residents with stimulating conversation and various activities such as bingo and board games.
“Serving as a team at Carroll Manor created a great bonding experience while allowing us to develop important skills on working in the community,” said Donnellan. “The MLK service day allowed me to learn important qualities about my teammates that in turn help build team comradery.”
The baseball, women’s lacrosse, football, volleyball, softball and men’s and women’s tennis teams helped clean up parks throughout the DMV area. Baseball and women’s lacrosse went north to the City of Hyattsville while football and volleyball traveled west to the Rock Creek Conservancy, Pinehurst. Tennis ventured down the road to the Friends of Noyes Park and softball went east to the Living Classrooms Kingman Heritage Island Park.
“Cleaning up a park may not seem like it makes a huge difference but it means a lot to the people who use it daily,” said Sullivan. “The woman who was in charge of the park cleanup appreciated our help so much because she said the park had not been cleaned for several months.”
Staying in the Brookland community, the men’s and women’s basketball teams stopped by Yu Ying to help the students make “Buddy Bags” for patients at the Children’s National Hospital. The field hockey and women’s soccer team walked over to the Franciscan Monastery on 14th street to help move luminarias and tend to the landscape.
“Doing service together as a team helps foster a unique bond between the teammates,” said Sullivan. “It is an opportunity for a team to be together off the field, court, pool, etc. The more time spent together creates more opportunities for team bonding."
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