Dec. 14, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State women’s track and field team took on a new challenge this year.
For a group that is focused on cohesiveness on and off the track, the squad took one step closer to that goal by working with the Salvation Army to sponsor two local families during the 2005 holiday season. The Seminoles, working with the Adopt a Family program, collected toys, clothes and food through a team donation and presented two large boxes to the missionary group on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at the Mike Long Track and Field Complex.
“I think its important for all of our student-athletes to understand we have a bigger role in the community, that goes beyond what can be done for them and more towards what can we do for someone else particularly this time of the year,” said third-year head coach Bob Braman. “We’re actually very, very fortunate. We have student-athletes who get to go to college; a lot of them are on scholarships, they can travel throughout the country and maybe even the world and for (our women’s team) to realize that we’ve got an opportunity to pay it forward, as they say, is very important in their development as people.”
Many local Tallahassee schools and organizations have continually sponsored the Adopt-A-Family program but the women’s track and field team is the first on campus and among the athletic department to jump at this initiative. Assistant coach Jackie Richards coordinated the team’s efforts to purchase items and gather contributions to the drive.
“Coach (Jackie) Richards chose it because it was an opportunity for us to work together, to do something together, especially during the holidays,” said senior captain and All-American Evelyne-Cynthia Niako. “To be able to give back to two families that were in need is cool because everyone got to pitch in and help out. It was a good feeling to have knowing that we are going out and getting things that somebody really needs.”
“I feel as though it’s an honor to actually start a tradition at Florida State because who knows, this could be something that the track and field team does annually,” said fellow senior and captain LaToya Legree. “I think it was really good that we were able to step into this new project and actually give back in a way. So often different athletic teams give back by doing community service but to give something that someone will actually benefit from, some of the little things that we overlook daily, it was really a blessing that they will actually enjoy the items that we collected.”
The program, started in West Virginia in the 1980s and Tallahassee 14 years ago, came about when members of the Salvation Army noticed there were a lot of agencies helping with toy donations during the holiday season but not with clothing contributions.
Overall, the women’s team is very active in the local and regional area. LeGree represented Florida State Athletics last week during a book donation drive sponsored by The Ounce of Prevention Fund and Caroline Brevard Elementary School. The Seminoles make it a priority to donate not only their time but their educational and athletic services to enrich Tallahassee and encourage community spirit.
“Our women’s track team takes community service activities very seriously,” said sophomore Laura Bowerman, one of this year’s team captains and reigning ACC Rookie of the Year. “We enjoy giving back to the community, having the chance to just go out and have fun working on projects with different groups in Tallahassee. We’re thankful that we have the chance because we’ve been given so much here. I think giving back to the community reflects our thankfulness to the community and how much we appreciate their support.”