GREENSBORO, N.C. - Under the direction of head coach Chris Rusiewicz, Guilford College's football team extended its diligent work ethic beyond the classroom and off the football field to help others. Student-athletes and coaches alike made a positive impact on the greater Greensboro community through their volunteer work. Members of the Quakers' football team collected 901 hours of community service over the past academic year, well above Rusiewicz's goal of 600 hours.
"We want to serve others and make a difference in someone else's life, which allows us to realize sometimes how fortunate we are," Rusiewicz said. The second-year coach also noted how service builds relationships outside the team and strengthens team unity off the field.
Students performed a variety of tasks, ranging from participation in the Guilford College Community Kitchens Project to moving rugs for 10,000 Villages, a fair-trade retail store that sells handmade products crafted by fairly paid adults in developing nations around world. Rising sophomore offensive lineman Drew Milot participated on a Guilford College spring break work trip to New Bern, N.C., where he and other students helped on a Friends Disaster Relief project for victims of Hurricane Irene.
"The whole experience really opened my eyes to how fortunate I am," Milot said. "We all have something great to do in our life and going on this work trip inspired me to do great things."
Every week since the start of the spring semester, 16 different students from Guilford's football team made time to spend with the students of Guilford Middle School. The Quakers visited twice a week and each player was paired with a student at the middle school. During their 90 minutes together, the football players helped the middle schoolers with homework assignments and reading, but also found time to let the kids have some fun playing basketball and other games as a group.
"It was great to see our guys experience how much fun serving others can be," Rusiewicz said. "Since we did so well with this year's goal, I guess we'll have to shoot for 1,000 hours next year."