TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State University women’s golf team has long been recognized as a leader in community service projects at Florida State University. During the 2015-16 school year, the Seminoles combined for 371.5 total hours of community service for an average of over 33.8 hours per team member. The program has received the prestigious Athletic Director’s Cup for Community Service for 13 of the last 15 years.
Senior Sherrell Buckley has made a significant impact off the course with her involvement in community service activities during her time as a member of the team. While balancing a heavy course load as she earns a degree in Industrial Engineering and practicing daily with her teammates, Buckley has made giving back to the community a top priority throughout her career.
“You have to have really good time management skills and, with everything going on, I feel like I’m going 200 miles per hour sometimes,” Buckley said. “Community service is one of the most important things for me.”
During the Summer of 2016, Buckley sought out opportunities and spent her free time volunteering with numerous organizations in Tallahassee.
“Sherrell has great leadership skills and devotes a lot of her time to reaching out in the community,” said head coach Amy Bond. “She enjoys giving back and has a knack for making people feel special.”
Buckley used that knack at the North Florida Freedom School (NFFS) summer program, a non-profit co-sponsored by Florida State and Florida A&M University. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Buckley would visit the program’s summer camp and spend time with the children.
“My favorite part was getting to play with the little kids just running around,” said Buckley. “They would just hang on your arms wanting to jump and play with you. They were so fun.”
The NFFS summer program serves kindergarten through eighth-grade students from households in Tallahassee as well as Gadsden Country. It is a part of the Children’s Defense Fund, a program that seeks to empower children through quality enrichment programs to help close summer learning gaps, build self-esteem and boost motivation to make a difference in their community.
Buckley said the most rewarding part of her summer was getting to know the kids on a more personal level.
“It was the same faces every day so I got to connect with the kids,” said Buckley with her trademark smile on her face. “I got to know their names and they got to know mine. They talked about their families and their interests. It was time I got to have fun with the kids and build relationships with them.
”Buckley also serves as the Vice President of Internal Affairs on the FSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In her role she assists in planning community service events for Seminole student-athletes including with Second Harvest of the Big Bend, where they prepared and served food at local homeless shelters as well as clothing drives and charity walks. Collectively, Seminole student-athletes logged more than 6,100 community service hours in 2016 – an increase of 500 hours from 2015.
“Giving back to the community of one of the most rewarding things we do as a team,” said Bond. “We are very blessed to be members of the Florida State community and everyone is very supportive of us. It’s nice to have the opportunity to spend time with others and raise funds for special causes. The best thing about serving our community is being in the community and encouraging togetherness. We enjoy that aspect of being members of the FSU family and make giving our time to others a regular part of our schedule.”
“Everything that I have, I want to show to other people that you can do it too,” said Buckley. “No one thinks about being successful in sports and academically in industrial engineering, and I want to show kids that you can do this if you want. You can do anything you want to do if you just set your mind to it. Sometimes kids don’t listen to their parents when they say things but maybe coming from a Florida State athlete they look up to you and they will see ‘Oh, wow, I can do that! If she can do that, I can do it.’’’
By Hope Carpinello
Florida State Sports Information