Wiley College Athletes Give Back to the Community
The Wiley Wildcats have been giving their neighbors something to cheer about – on and off the court.
The Wiley Wildcats and Lady Wildcats have been scoring a series of slam dunks and winning ways on the court of community service. Over the last several months, athletes from both basketball teams have been building new relationships and serving as positive role models in a wide variety of activities benefitting the young people in the Marshall community.
“Community service is a pivotal part of what we do at Wiley,” says Wiley College Athletic Director Janet Eaton. “We have over 200 athletes on campus and they participate eagerly in the projects set up for them by the coaching staff throughout the year.”
Options to Impact the Young are Almost Limitless
In addition to conducting the fifth annual Toy Drive to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Marshall, athletes in all sports have helped serve food to needy families, volunteered at local carnivals, and visited area nursing homes. Wiley students also participated in a walk-a-thon to help a local school raise funds for a new playground.
Every team has found a way to give back to the community through time and service, particularly by serving as role models placing a high importance on physical fitness. Men’s basketball players visit every Tuesday to mentor day care students in academics and exercise. Track and field athletes have been regular participants in Sam Houston Middle School’s Wednesday Mentoring program while the Wiley baseball team has spent countless hours volunteering at Boys and Girls Club. Cheerleaders give back by visiting Washington Elementary students. Lady Wildcats interact with junior high girls by refereeing interscholastic contests and putting on skills clinics for the next generation of athletes.
It’s not just the younger children that have benefitted from Wiley’s efforts in the community, cross country runner Benodine Kosom and All-Mid-South region volleyball player Ingrid Mosquera are just two of the athletes that have volunteered with Mandated Ministries, a nonprofit group providing academic, social and spiritual enrichment for teens.
“Since many kids don’t have a father figure or older brother, seeing college basketball players is kind of like seeing a celebrity,” notes men’s coach Andre Payne. Women’s basketball coach Courtney Garrett-Pruitt adds, “Some of our players with similar backgrounds to the kids in the area may remember what that was like and want to help everyone they can, so we really try to reach out to those who may not have a lot.”
The community outreach efforts create a win-win opportunity for students and residents. “It’s important for Wiley athletes to learn to give back to the community,” Courtney explains. “Servant leadership is what Wiley College life is all about.”