A Pink Diary and a Boom Box for Christmas
Dec. 15, 2009
WASHINGTON - The mission statement of the Georgetown Department of Athletics can be found in every media guide, on countless pieces of literature and even posted on the athletic website. However, often fans are more interested in the score of the game than examining the many goals of the department well beyond the playing field.
The Georgetown Department of Athletics Statement of Mission & Goals reads
The Georgetown University Department of Athletics, as part of a university with roots in the Jesuit tradition of education, commits itself to the comprehensive development of the student. The interdependence of the physical, emotional, moral and intellectual aspects of personal growth requires simultaneous and balanced focus. This objective does not imply that each facet of an individual's psychological, social and academic growth is of equal importance. It does require that Georgetown provide the means and encouragement for each person to develop according to his or her own interests and abilities. This is especially true in athletics, whether at the recreational, intercollegiate, intramural or instructional level. In addition to physical development, the Department of Athletics promotes principles of character, development and sportsmanship within the framework of an abiding and broadened commitment to community. Accordingly, the Athletics Department is committed to, fosters and pursues the fair and equitable treatment of both men and women, and the provision of equitable access and opportunities for minority students and institutional personnel.
These words are not just printed as part of an elaborate public relations effort, each coaching staff truly believes this and it is shown through the many acts of charity and community service performed by each team every year. One squad which has shown initiative with a number of groups is women's lacrosse.
"As a staff, we want our players to recognize the opportunities they have been given and they are responsible for giving back to their community," said Head Coach Ricky Fried. "In the Jesuit tradition, we strive to not only develop the student and player, but the whole person."
With a spring playing season, the team has the unique advantage of having an entire semester to bond before hitting the turf each year. During that time, activities range from fall practice and lifts to community service projects and study groups. One cause the team has come to embrace is the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.
Friends of Jaclyn pairs children with brain tumors with teams throughout the nation. Each adoptee becomes a member of the squad by standing on the sidelines at games and attending team functions when possible.
The foundation was started by Northwestern women's lacrosse when they adopted Jaclyn Murphy. From there it has grown into a national phenomenon with teams from all over the nation adopting pediatric brain tumor patients and giving them encouragement while raising money to research the disease.
Alli Mendofik has been a part of the squad since 2007. She attends as many games as possible as well as team events and the yearly banquet. When not on the sidelines she is often texting good luck to the girls before games, while the Hoyas send encouragement on the trials and tribulations of high school.
Last season, Mendofik and Murphy got together with the Hoyas and Wildcats in a game at Multi-Sport Field to kickoff the Third Annual Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Banquet. The game raised money for the foundation and both squads attended the banquet and silent auction in support of their honorary team members.
Beyond the work with Friends of Jaclyn, many team members also spend time with Hoya Dreams, an organization which connects Georgetown student-athletes with pediatric patients at the Georgetown Hospital.
Most Fridays during the school year, one can find a women's lacrosse contingent heading up to the hospital to visit with patients and play with the children. It is just one more way that the team goes back to the mission of the department.
This year, the women's lacrosse squad has added another community service project to the list as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee organized a "Giving Tree". The team selected nine children and broke up into classes to take on a few of the gifts to fulfill each child's request. The gifts include smaller items such as a pink diary or a picture frame to larger gifts like a boom box or gift card.
Many team members, coaches and staff have contributed to the "Giving Tree" proving that our student-athletes are being guided by the mission of the department and truly want to make a difference.
It seems that every team on campus has some similar story, but as the women's lacrosse squad got together last weekend for a quick holiday party prior to finals, it was clear that holiday giving and togetherness trumped anything on the field that evening.