Case Western Reserve University student-athletes were out in full force this past Friday as the Spartans took part in the university's fifth annual Case for Community Day.
In the past, the athletic department staff and its teams had individually left campus to do various tasks such as paint walls in area shelters or put together beds at the Ronald McDonald House. This year, the Center for Community Partnerships requested the teams host a clinic on campus and the Case Association of Student Athletes (CASA) and department staff agreed to step up.
"The student-athletes and coaches stepped up to the plate on Friday," said Mike Petro, a junior cross country, track and field athlete and CASA president. "Everyone was full of energy and excitement, which was infectious. The kids had a blast. The event was a great opportunity to give back to the community and provide positive guidance for these young kids. It was great to see things work out so well, including the weather."
Around 300 students in the first to eighth grades from five Cleveland Municipal schools, including Franklin D. Roosevelt Academy, Bolton Elementary School, Forest Hill Parkway, Daniel E. Morgan School and Mary McLeod Bethune School, were invited to the Case Western Reserve athletic facilities to participate in assorted sporting activities and games: track and field at the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center; basketball at Horsburgh Gymnasium; volleyball in Adelbert Gymnasium; and soccer and football under sunny skies on Van Horn Field.
Many Spartan varsity athletes and coaches were present and used their expertise to make certain the children participating in the event had a fun and safe time. Each child also received a medallion provided by the university and a Spartan water bottle provided by CASA. At the end of the day, the children took class pictures with volunteers.
"The Case for Community Day event was a lot of fun for our players and the children really responded with great enthusiasm," said Karen Farrell, head women's volleyball coach and senior woman administrator. "Volleyball isn't a sport that most children are familiar with as compared to soccer and basketball, but the kids really tried to imitate the skills that our players were teaching. It was a very rewarding experience for our team."
The Spartan men's basketball team remained consistent with an off-campus experience. They got their hands dirty in a large-scale landscaping project in the city's Fairfax neighborhood, in conjunction with the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation. Players and coaches planted flowerbeds in nearly 30 homes throughout the community.
"Our players have been active with Case for Community Day since 2004, and I'm really proud of the help they've provided," said Head Coach Sean McDonnell. "Mason Conrad [senior center] did a great job as our project's team leader this year. I think the Fairfax neighborhood really appreciated our efforts."
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