November 25th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: Athletes Give Back

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer


Elementary Excellence: Athletes Give Back
Photo by Brad Knoop

 Basketball Players Help Homeless Rebound

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

This week is known to be a time to give thanks for the blessings of life.

And St. Mary Academy's basketball players, along with many other schools and businesses in the Louisville area, recently found a way to show thanks by giving back to the community.

“We’re glad to be a part of the Blanket Louisville Project,” said St. Mary Academy’s Football Coordinator and Basketball Coach Scott Porter. “This is our first year working with Blanket Louisville, and we are thankful for the opportunity. One of the things we urge every team at our school to do is to engage in philanthropy or service.”

Blanket Louisville, a community service project, entered its ninth year of operation this fall season. In it’s eight previous years, the non-profit organization had collected a total of 35, 786 blankets. All of the blankets collected went to numerous homeless shelters across the Louisville region.

 And this season’s distribution was no different. This past week, more than 4,000 blankets were collected and distributed to local shelters.

Porter, still a member of the Athletic Board at St. Mary Academy, worked with the support of current Athletic Director Jeff Medley to encourage all of the basketball teams to bring in blankets.

“We ended up with 92 blankets. The goal was to have the 18 basketball teams participate and for each team to bring three-five blankets. We exceeded the goal,” said Porter.

Porter says the effort to get the young student athletes involved is community service is vital, and he wants the kids to have a spirit of thankfulness for their own current situations.

“We want to get our kids used to thinking that way no matter the sport or which team they are on, they are fortunate and blessed to be a part of that type of activity,” said Porter. Also, in 20 years, they may have kids going through school and sports programs like they did. The life lessons we teach now make for better people growing up.”

Porter added that St. Mary Academy sports teams have, and will continue, to be a part of community service projects.

“We’ve had teams raised money to raise for a baptismal font, other teams put efforts into a diabetes walk, and still other players collect for blessings in the backpack school supplies,” said Porter. “We strongly believe in giving back. Sports remind us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, not only a team, but a community.”

Porter says the main connection from the school to sports at St. Mary Academy leans back on the Catholic faith, and that fact alone stands for service this Thanksgiving season, and year-round.

Said Porter: “I think St. Francis said, ‘Everyday preach the gospel and sometimes use words.’ Being part of a Catholic school is stewardship. If you start the tradition in grade school, the kids will continue to see it at the high school level and beyond. It’s the right thing to do to get the kids involved. It’s part of our faith.”

 

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