Softball team’s goodwill earns NCAA community award
Metropolitan State College of Denver’s Intercollegiate Athletics program has received the NCAA Division II Community Engagement Award in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) for its "Building Bridges to the Community" program.
The NCAA and the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) give the award.
Roadrunners offer tips on and off the field in award-winning program.
The award-winning program began in the fall of 2007 when the women’s softball team "adopted" the Denver West High School girls' softball team. This partnering between the two teams is an ongoing relationship meant to build bridges between the college and Denver Public Schools.
"I think this is a great opportunity, not only for the West High students, but for our student-athletes here at Metro State," said Athletic Director Joan McDermott. "They are great role models who can positively impact the lives of young people in local schools. It is also important for our student-athletes to realize they have a responsibility to give back to the community."
The program entailed Metro State team members conducting seminars at West on leadership, the importance of academics and success in athletics and life. Especially important was the pairing of the college and high school students in a study session where the Roadrunners were able to show the high school students what their studies are like, how they handle their busy schedules and what their future plans are. The players also attended a couple of the high school team's practices and games to show their support and provide encouragement to their "adopted" team. Some of their experiences were captured Dec. 22 in FOX31’s Prep Zone http://media.myfoxcolorado.com/prepzone/.
Freshman Danni Hedstrom
“They just really bonded with us,” says freshman Danni Hedstrom. “They were interested in what he had to say. Their willingness to learn made us continue to go back and help.”
The building bridges program will grow in the fall of 2008 when all of Metro State's athletic teams will mentor select Denver Public Schools, McDermott said. Division II and NACMA staged the contest to build momentum for Division II's community-engagement initiative and reward institutions for their creativity in advancing the initiative.
Division II schools were encouraged to submit their best community-engagement promotion from the "ideas that work" section on the Division II community-engagement Web site, http://www.diicommunity.org/.