The Hobart College lacrosse team spread holiday cheer to dozens of families in the Geneva area through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester. The Statesmen welcomed more than 65 kids to campus for a holiday party, complete with presents, on Monday evening.
Head Coach Greg Raymond and his team organized a Holiday Angel Tree. Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ students, faculty, and staff selected an angel ornament from the tree and purchased gifts for local children. The lacrosse team wrapped all of the presents and handed them out at the party.
Each team member had two or three presents to give to a child and called out the name on the tag. As each kid came forward, they were treated to a round of applause just like student-athletes get during the introduction of starting lineups.
“It’s always a blast to see little kids light up like that,” senior Matt Opsahl said. “For us, we get to do it every Saturday, we get to walk out of the tunnel and get cheered for. I think it’s really special for them come up and get a big round of applause and feel the love from our team.
“Having an event like this gives our team an opportunity to reach out to the Geneva community in a really positive, meaningful way. It really feels good to be able to give back.”
The HWS Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning provided pizza to attendees. The local charity Gloves for Love provided hats and mittens.
“We have a responsibility to the community to be leaders,” Raymond said. “We really feel like a requirement to be a part of this team is to exude as many leadership qualities as possible. Not only do we get to help a group of kids, but we also get to reflect a little more on how lucky we are.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters uses the slogan, “Start Something.” This year’s party started with a smaller effort by the lacrosse team last season when team members purchased presents for kids from Geneva participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters. Thanks to the support of the HWS community, this year’s effort ensured four times as many children as last year, all of the littles in Ontario County, shared a smile with the Statesmen.
“To see everybody come together, it’s great,” Berta Bennett, match coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester, said. “And for Hobart lacrosse to do this for us for two years, it’s amazing. Last year it was just Geneva and this year we opened it up to 31 families.”
Bennett stressed that Big Brothers Big Sisters is always looking for Bigs, especially men, to serve as mentors. Volunteering as little as a few hours per month can make a big difference in a child’s life.
To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit www.BeABig.com