STUDENT-ATHLETES REACH OUT TO THE COMMUNITY
Displaying a heart for service, a group of Geneva College student-athletes joined with Best Friends, Inc.: The Children’s Friendship Network this summer for the organization’s 20th Anniversary Roundup. During this one-day event, some of the Golden Tornadoes who reported to campus early for sports camps had the opportunity to spend time making memories with disabled children from local communities.
"This event allowed us to get off campus, break down barriers and make new friends.”
The Best Friends organization pursues the mission of promoting “friendships between children with disabilities and their nondisabled peers and to facilitate their more active participation and inclusion in the life of the community.” And its purpose is to “bring the joy of genuine friendship into the lives of isolated children.”
Activity and joy were certainly is abundance on the day of the celebration.
Quarterback Zack Hayward said, “We spent one-on-one time with the kids and their parents, enjoyed watching the football team’s attempts at line dancing, went on horse and carriage rides, took a lot of pictures in the photo booth and helped clean everything up afterwards. It was an awesome event and I know everyone had a great time.”
Senior tennis player Christine Bullock agreed. She exclaimed, “We all had so much at the Best Friends Roundup! This event allowed us to get off campus, break down barriers and make new friends.”
Best Friends is a Beaver Falls-based non-profit organization that has been serving children with disabilities and their families since 1993. The organization strives to teach the children it serves how to make friends, and encourages positive peer interaction and social skills while opening new doors for participation in community activities. Best Friends also promotes an appreciation of individual and multicultural differences to provide a sense of belonging in hopes of breaking the isolation and loneliness experienced by many children with disabilities.
In Exodus 4:11, the Lord says to Moses, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” These Geneva student-athletes experienced the truth of this verse— God intentionally created each of us for His purposes, no matter how strong or weak we may seem.
And along the way, some long-term friendships may have been fostered, too. “Talking with the people who attended gave me a new appreciation for the organization,” said Bullock. “I would love to get more involved in the future.”
–Lynsey Auell ’14 and Amanda Tyson ’16