University Service Day: St. John's Athletics Reaches Out To The Community

St. John's track & field and women's cross country teams helped out at The Miracle League of Long Island on Saturday.

St. John's track & field and women's cross country teams helped out at The Miracle League of Long Island on Saturday.

Oct. 1, 2013

QUEENS, N.Y. – For the 12th consecutive year, student-athletes representing several St. John’s athletic programs joined together to participate in University Service Day, a University-wide community service initiative held this past weekend. In concert with the entire SJU community, Red Storm teams served to benefit those in need on campus, in New York City and beyond.

On the Queens campus on Saturday, more than 500 participants gathered outside Carnesecca Arena for the third-annual Dribble for the Cure event, helping raise $55,000 and counting for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. For more information on the event, and how to help support the cause, click here.

Later in the day, the St. John’s women’s soccer team gathered together at the D’Angelo Center, where they made cards to be delivered to children and families at Give Kids The World (GKTW), an organization built on making dreams come true for children battling life-threatening illnesses.

“We are blessed to be a part of not only University Service Day, but more importantly the Give Kids the World Foundation,” said senior goalkeeper Lauren Ferris. “The experience our team gained from this service was unmatched. It is a wonderful thing when you can do something for someone else, but this experience was also extremely eye opening as well.”

Off campus, members of the St. John’s softball team headed to the Atria Senior Living Center in Forest Hills, N.Y., to spend the day interacting and playing games with the residents.

“Our experience this year was pretty incredible. We served at an assisted-living home 10 minutes down the road that I just happened to find by chance,” said Ellen Czuba, a junior outfielder that served as team leader for the event. “We met a woman who survived the Holocaust and another woman who played in the Dottie Hinson softball league, the original league from A League of Their Own. That wasn’t planned. It’s truly incredible that something like that happens by chance.”

Over in Selden, N.Y., members of the St. John’s track & field and women’s cross country teams gathered together to help at The Miracle League of Long Island, a non-profit organization that former St. John’s track & field star Kristine Fitzpatrick has turned into a nation-wide program. The Miracle League of Long Island’s mission is to establish and sustain baseball programs for people of all ages with disabilities.

“We were very excited to work with The Miracle League as our service opportunity,” stated head track & field and women’s cross country coach Jim Hurt. “It was great to work with Kristine Fitzpatrick, who was one of the best track and field athletes to come through our program and serve on our staff. She does great work with The Miracle League, and we appreciated the opportunity to spend the day with her and the athletes.”

On Sunday, the St. John’s lacrosse team wrapped up the weekend’s events with the annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run, a living, breathing Memorial Tribute to the memory of the heroic life and death of Stephen Siller, FDNY, and the 343 firefighters, first responders and all who perished on Sept. 11, 2001.

“This was the fourth year we’ve participated in this run and it’s definitely become one of the highlights of the year for us,” said head lacrosse coach Jason Miller. “Stephen Siller’s legacy has become a great source of inspiration for our lacrosse program and we take a great deal of pride in participating every year.”

Serving on the Service Opportunity Counsel as the liaison to athletics, Administrative Assistant for Student Development and Academic Support JoAnne Zissel helped coordinate the teams with their various sites and details for the day.

“It was great to see our teams giving back to the community,” said Zissel. “I love working with the coaches and student-athletes, particularly on this special day each year.”

For all the latest information on how St. John’s Athletics serves all year long, be sure to visit the “In the Community” section on www.redstormsports.com.