All In for the Community Win

Jefferson U student-athletes score big in volunteer challenge

Beats for Bella: Members of the Jefferson Rams women’s basketball team volunteered for the fifth year in a row at the annual Beats for Bella golf outing at Jeffersonville Golf Course in September 2019. Beats for Bella is a non-profit organization that strives to create awareness for Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs) by telling the story of Bella Borkowski. (Courtesy/Thomas Jefferson University Athletics)

Student-athletes from various sports teamed up to give Thomas Jefferson University – and the community surrounding it – a win that won’t show up in their respective team standings, but it’s even more important than those that do.

During the fall of 2019, Rams student-athletes participated in the NCAA Team Works and Helper Helper Challenge, a community-service mission. In doing so, the baseball team topped the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (and was second among all DII conferences) in the NCAA Team Works and Helper Helper Challenge, while Jefferson cracked the Top 10.

Dig Pink: In October, the Jefferson Rams women’s volleyball team raised more than $1,200 for the Sideout Foundation during its annual “Dig Pink” game (Courtesy/Thomas Jefferson University Athletics)

The results were announced in mid-January.

Team Works coordinates community service efforts, while Helper Helper is a volunteer management and tracking platform. The Challenge, which ran from September to November, tracks the number of service hours completed by student-athletes.

According to Pat Horvath – the university’s Coordinator of Community Engagement and head baseball coach – Rams student-athletes logged 3,583 total hours of community engagement. Of that, the baseball team averaged 32 hours per student-athlete, logging nearly 1,500 hours collectively.

Dr J: Members of the Jefferson Rams women’s basketball squad teamed up with Julius “Dr. J” Erving at the hoops legend’s Youth Basketball Experience at the Sixers Training Complex in Camden, N.J. (Courtesy/Thomas Jefferson University Athletics)

The highlights include: the Erving Youth Basketball Experience, Beats for Bella golf outing, Special Olympics Pennsylvania youth summit and the women’s soccer vs. cancer game.

Horvath said the ranking is emblematic of increased community engagement levels each year since 2015.

Vs. Cancer: This Fall, the Jefferson Rams women’s soccer team participated in their annual “Vs. Cancer” match designed to raise awareness and funds for childhood-cancer research. The event raised more than $2,000 for the organization which was founded in 2012 by childhood brain tumor survivor Chase Jones, who was a collegiate baseball player at the University of North Carolina during the time of his diagnosis. (Courtesy/Thomas Jefferson University

“We have built great relationships with Athletes Helping Athletes, Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Beats for Bella, Team IMPACT and Erving Youth Basketball Experience,” Horvath said. “With these partnerships, our athletic department has been able to have a greater impact on the youth in our area.

“The Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has done tremendous job of hosting and organizing our community engagement events and getting involvement from student-athletes.”

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