Athletes achieve more than just wins

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Not only do student-athletes at California Baptist University study, attend class, practice and compete, they are also active volunteers in the Riverside community. All teams are involved with community service and involvement projects in the Riverside area.

The athletic teams on campus reach out to the community and partake in programs such as collecting cans for annual canned food drives in the fall, as well as taking time to volunteer with programs such as the YMCA.

All athletes donate their time with both a community service project and a community involvement project. Rick York, director of athletic academic services, explained the difference of a community service project versus a community involvement project; community service entails going out and serving the community whereas a community involvement project partners with a program to help serve.

“We did the canned food drive the first semester as our community service project and brought in 3,659 cans total,” York said.

The top three teams to have donated the most cans in the drive include the women’s softball team bringing a total of 634 cans, an average of 33.6 per athlete; runner-up was the women’s water polo team with a total of 397 cans donated, an average of 26.6 per athlete. The baseball team was third overall and the number one men’s team, collecting a total of 458 cans, an average of 14.3 per athlete.

“For the spring we partnered with the YMCA for community involvement,” York said. “We thought of the YMCA because they are right down the street from here [CBU] and had two specific dates for us to volunteer at.”

So far, both men’s and women’s volleyball and cross country/track teams have already volunteered at the YMCA open house last month, each serving two hours per team. The same day of the YMCA open house, the cheer team put on a free cheer clinic for the kids.

York mentioned every team will be volunteering at the YMCA before the spring semester is over, most likely they will be instructing clinics.

Although teams are required to participate in at least one community service project and one community involvement project with the athletics department, they still volunteer and help with other programs throughout Riverside on their own.

“Cross country/track has volunteered over 70 hours of tutoring at Ysmael Villegas Community Center and will be putting on a shoe drive during the spring,” York said.

York also mentioned the men’s baseball team spent one Saturday morning cleaning the school grounds at Miller Middle School, a local school, while the coaching staff spoke at an Inland Empire high school winter meeting for baseball coaches.

The teams who went to the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA) Tournament participated in both the tournament and volunteered their time with a specific activity put on by the NCCAA.

“Both cross country teams, both soccer teams, both golf teams and the women’s volleyball team all played in the NCCAA Tournament in the fall and did a community service project there [at each of their tournament’s],” York said.

He mentioned the service project was put on by the NCCAA.

“It’s important to us as an athletics department to be involved and helping out,” York said.

The athletics outreach program is in its third year donating time to the Riverside community. York said prior to the athletics outreach program teams would volunteer on there own, but since CBU is now in the NCAA Division II, it is important to volunteer and give back.

“These programs help CBU athletes learn much more than how to be a team player on the court but how to be a leader in their community as well,” Bailee Sawyer, cross country/track member, said. She also mentioned it gives athletes a chance to give back.

Students can help support the athletes by purchasing a game day T-shirt for $10 or purchasing a star for $1. All the proceeds made will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. If you are interested in purchasing any of these items, contact Rick York at ryork@calbaptist.edu.

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