MONTGOMERY, Ala. ---- In conjunction with the university-wide Martin Luther King Day of Service initiative, several of the Auburn Montgomery athletic programs took part in a variety of community service projects across the area over the past week.
Representatives from baseball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, cheerleading, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's cross country all participated or have plans to participate in the initiative.
"It's outstanding to see such widespread community engagement from our athletic programs," Athletics Director Steve Crotz said. "Giving back to Montgomery is very important to AUM athletics, and there is no better time to emphasize this point than around a holiday celebrating a man who did so much, both for Montgomery and our nation as a whole."
The AUM baseball team traveled up to Millbrook to assist the Alabama Wildlife Federation at a local pond. Half of the team helped catch catfish in a pond that had been drained of water, while the other half repaired fishing poles in a separate area.
"The entire team arrived in Millbrook around 8:45 in the morning, and stayed to help for several hours," assistant coach Clay Booth said. "Players and coaches alike had a great time assisting the AWF, and look forward to helping them again in the future."
Both AUM soccer teams, meanwhile, took to the streets of downtown Montgomery to help clean up several city streets. The initiative was a part of the City of Montgomery's Youth Service Day. The teams met at the Normandale Shopping Center and cleaned up roughly 10 blocks of surrounding streets.
In recognition of their service, the city presented AUM soccer with the First Annual MLK Day of Service Dream Generation Award (Third Place) for having such a large number of participants.
Men's basketball worked with House to House, a Christian mentoring ministry on the west side of the city whose mission involves renovating abandoned homes. The players and coaches gathered after a rainy morning and helped clean up an area where an old, dilapidated house had been pushed over.
Women's basketball spent time last week at Blount Elementary School, reading stories to five first grade classes and a special-needs classroom. The Warhawks stayed after to play games and interact with the students.
The Cheerleading squad assisted at the Family Justice Center downtown before participating in a roundtable discussion on the importance of community service and visiting the former home of Dr. King.
"It was a wonderful day for our squad," Head Coach Joel Hughes said. "The girls had a chance to help clean and straighten the kids play area, design and paint a mural on their wall, and put together 130 care packages for victims that come into the Justice Center. Their enthusiasm was fantastic, and it showed coach Brasington and I how great our squad is."
Both tennis teams helped spread their love of the game with free clinics to local children at the YMCA on Bell road. The lessons, which took place last Friday, were given to kids of all ages.
The cross country squads will spend next Thursday on a field trip at the Eastdale Mall with autistic children from Brewbaker Primary School. The school's mission is to prepare the children for a productive life in the working world, and the teams will be providing much-needed assistance, as the department has only one full-time teacher and three aids.
AUM Athletics is committed to developing students and members of the community by actively engaging in shared experiences. The objective of our community engagement is for our student-athletes, coaches and staff to build relationships that bring regional constituents to our campus in addition to reaching out to provide assistance to an individual or group. Each of our sports teams are committed to participating in a minimum of three engagement activities.