Tuesday, December 22, 2009

UAlbany Student-Athletes Give Back to the Capital Region Community for the Holidays

Albany, N.Y. - University at Albany student-athletes been participating in the Albany County Department for Children, Youth and Families Adopt-A-Family program during the holiday season. Members of all nineteen UAlbany intercollegiate athletic men's and women's teams raised money and bought gifts for sponsored families as a part of the project, sponsored by the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

"It's a humbling experience," said UAlbany tennis player Caitlin Crowley. "It makes you feel really good to know how appreciative the family is to receive these gifts at Christmas time."

UAlbany's athletic department and its student-athletes have been associated with the Adopt-A-Family project for several years. Through the project, all money is raised and donated by the athletic teams. Representatives from each team then go out, purchase the items and wrap them. A few representatives from each team then go to the family's homes to deliver the gifts before Christmas. SAAC members also participated in Salvation Army bell ringing at local shopping centers throughout the Capital Region during the holiday season.

"To see families that are in need of basic necessities, it's just awesome to be able to give to them, especially during the holidays," said Rowland, who helped purchase items such as bed sheets, blankets, laundry detergent and toiletry items for the family. Crowley also added that she made sure to buy coloring books and other fun items for the young children in the family.

"It is really rewarding to see their faces when they know they're going to have gifts under the tree to open," said Crowley. "Hence why I went out and bought other fun things. I wish we could have done more!"

Crowley, a native of Burnt Hills, N.Y., and Rowland, who hails from Albany, both felt that giving back to the local community is an important part of being a UAlbany student-athlete.

"It is overwhelming and touching to be a part of this program," said Brendan Rowland, an all-conference outfielder for the Great Dane baseball team. "I feel privileged as a UAlbany student-athlete to be able to help people in the community that gives so much back to us."

SAAC, which is made up of at least two representatives of each UAlbany athletic team, helps to coordinate several community service activities each semester. Vice President and Director of Athletics Lee McElroy has made community service one of the athletic department's top initiatives since he arrived on campus more than nine years ago.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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