MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois University student-athletes tallied 2,577 hours of community service and raised $11,045 to benefit local and national organizations during the 2010-11 academic year.
Western Illinois University student-athletes once again volunteered time in the Macomb community with the 'Rocky's Reach' program. Rocky's Reach is in its second year and gives Leatherneck student-athletes the opportunity to interact with elementary-age children by playing board games, recess activities and mentoring.
Two days each week, representatives from Western's sport programs volunteered time at McArthur Early Childhood Center and Lincoln Elementary School. Rocky's Reach is part of the Athletics Department philosophy for student-athletes to give back to the community and individuals who are in need through a clearly defined program of service, and develop the foundation of a lifelong commitment to volunteerism.
The Shaymus Relays enjoyed success for the third straight year as it raised more than $6,000 for Shaymus Guinn and his family. Put on by members of the Western Illinois track and field squad, 100 percent of the money raised was donated to the Guinn family and came from the participation in the relays, T-shirt purchases and donations.
Western's athletics teams and department staff raised money toward breast cancer awareness benefits through efforts in Big Pink Volleyball, Dig for The Cure and Pink Zone. Additionally, many female student-athletes helped teach young girls different sports skills in celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Within the Summit League, Western raised awareness to help stop the hunger through the participation in the Food Fight Contest and collected 1,019 pounds of food for the Western Illinois Regional Council Food Pantry.
Lincoln Elementary School's "Family Fun Night" in September was staffed by more than 100 volunteers, many of whom were Fighting Leatherneck student-athletes. In early May, more than 40 Western Illinois student-athletes made a visit to Lincoln Elementary in celebration of ACES Day, which is a signature exercise program of the Youth Fitness Coalition, Inc.
The Fighting Leatherneck softball and women's soccer teams volunteered time at the McDonough County animal shelter while the football team helped new students move into Thompson Hall back in August. The softball and football squads also helped the University celebrate Earth Day with the "We Care" campus beautification project.
In mid-April, the softball team promoted the "Homers for Hodgkin's" campaign. The Fighting Leathernecks played wiffleball with students on campus and informed them of the fundraiser, which helped raise support for the Lymphoma Research Foundation. Additionally, any fan who made a monetary donation participated in a home run derby competition following the Leathernecks' weekend games with North Dakota State.
For a complete list of all the Western Illinois Athletics community service efforts from the 2010-11 academic year, click HERE.