WASHINGTON, PA (March 13, 2018)—The women of Washington & Jefferson College’s (W&J) softball team are showing their excellence off the field by “adopting” a second-grade class in Clermont, Fla.
Coach Marissa Rush was approached by a representative from the PFX Games, a tournament held in Clermont in which the team will play over spring break. The representative asked Coach Rush if the women would be willing to write letters and send a few small gifts to the kids, who don’t have a lot. The team took the project a step further, with each player sending a gift for a specific student, many of which were personalized for the child receiving it.
“They really did go above and beyond and I told them multiple times how proud I am of them,” Coach Rush said.
Taylor Andres ’19, a communication arts major with an emphasis in public relations, made a painting of a letter “H” in a dirt biking design after she learned her second grader, Hunter, was interested in the sport.
“Being able to write a little note to these kids and brighten their day with a gift was something I was proud to be a part of,” Taylor said. “I also think it's a great thing to give kids something to look forward to in the classroom. Education is so important to children and sometimes a simple activity like this can be enough to get them excited about going to school.”
The class adoption was a way for the girls to get involved with the community outside of W&J. It gave them an opportunity to represent the College to young children, show them what it means to be an athlete at W&J, and encourage them to pursue their dreams.
“I feel like this was a good way for our team to connect with other communities outside of Washington and our hometowns,” psychology major Alexis Creyer ’20 said. “I personally like being able to connect with others outside of my hometown and to help others who may not have it as well off as I have growing up. It’s always rewarding to see how a little work and effort can have such a strong impact on others.”
While many of the girls have had opportunities to do philanthropy through sororities or other organizations on campus, this was the first time for them working on a project like this as a team. Psychology major Jamie Smith ’18 said this was a good way for the team to bond on a level beyond the sport, and although she’s graduating in the spring, she’d like to see the team’s effort with the students become a tradition.
“I’d like to see it continue and I’d like to see other teams do something like this, because it’s fun and it gets people involved,” Jamie said.
Coach Rush agrees. She’s not sure if the team will continue a relationship with the school in Florida, but she wants to make a yearly philanthropic project part of the season for the women on the team.
Though the original plan was to stop by the second grade class in Florida during the trip, the class will be out for their spring break and unable to meet with the team. The women hope to continue a pen pal relationship with the students.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.