March 19, 2006
The sounds of laughter, cheers and bowling balls tumbling down the lane overshadowed the fact that the Florida State women’s basketball team is in town for business. Because for just a couple of hours Sunday morning, the Seminoles took time away from their schedules to give back to the children of the greater Denver community by participating in a philanthropic bowling event.
“It is so important for our program to develop awareness that there is life outside of basketball,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “We want to continue to connect with young people and others in need.”
After breakfast, the Seminoles loaded the bus and traveled to a local bowling alley to interact with a couple dozen children representing Mount Saint Vincent, a program for children with a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems that are preventing them from functioning to their full potential at home, in the community or in school. Each player and coach paired up with a child to bowl, eat pizza, and fellowship for an afternoon when laughter was the main ingredient.
“I remember as a child looking up to role models,” FSU senior LaQuinta Neely said. “The truth is, kids look up to us as athletes and it’s our duty to be a positive role model for these children. I think this is a fun event that we are participating in today and I am thankful for the opportunity to give back to the community.”
Mount Saint Vincent was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (Kansas), in 1883, who responded to a compelling need within Denver by creating an orphanage for needy infants and children. As other orphanages were established, Mount Saint Vincent became a home for boys. Today, Mount Saint Vincent provides needed services to children and their families both on and off-campus – expanding both programs offered and, the numbers of children and families served.
The Seminoles learned after today’s event that the children and staff of Mount Saint Vincent would travel to Florida State’s Monday night contest against Stanford at the Pepsi Center to cheer on the Seminoles.
“Basketball is my favorite sport,” a child named Marcellus, whose last name was withheld, said. “I can’t wait to go and see the Seminoles play tomorrow night because we are going to cheer for them like they cheered for us. I had a lot of fun today and the girls are really tall and nice.”
While most of the Seminoles admitted bowling wasn’t their best sport, Florida State sophomore Christie Lautsch agreed she could help her particular child in a couple of ways.
“I just told her to go out there and have fun,” Lautsch said, with a huge grin on her face. “That’s what I try to do when I play basketball and that’s what I encouraged her to do. I’m not the best bowler but I’m a good supporter so I think my child enjoyed her day.”
Florida State and Stanford will face off Monday night at 9:30 p.m. (EST) on ESPN2.