Students Assist Community Needs in Diverse Ways

December 07, 2009

Students Assist Community Needs in Diverse Ways Over the fall semester, Saint Leo University students took on several noteworthy projects in support of local community needs. Students are encouraged in these efforts as they grow into mature citizens whose lives reflect the university’s core values of community, excellence, respect, integrity, responsible stewardship, and personal development.

To highlight just a few activities:

Kristen Preseault ’10, who plays midfield for the women’s soccer team, inspired 100 fellow student-athletes and coaches from eight different teams to travel to St. Petersburg and cheer on runners and walkers during the 2009 Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. The participants in the event cover 60 miles to raise money from donors to benefit breast cancer research, education, and patient care. They are exhausted and sore by the end, if not before. Kristen decided Saint Leo athletes could help lift walkers’ spirits by assembling a cheering section. The students were out on the route Sunday morning, November 1, creating a human "tunnel" of supportive Lions to praise the walkers as they passed. The Lions, many of whom were clad in pink, came equipped with coolers filled with water and freeze-pops for the thirsty walkers. Coach Erika Brennan praised Kristen for organizing the entire project. "She was a rock star in this whole thing," Coach Brennan wrote of Kristen.

Basic Human Health

The Saint Leo baseball team held a holiday food drive in November to benefit the local Catholic Charities office. And, for the second fall semester in a row, the team organized a round-up of players to donate to the local blood bank, Blood Net USA.

A Different Kind of Teen Clothing Shop

Delta Upsilon, the Saint Leo chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, adopted as a service project an effort at local high school to collect dress clothing for students who can’t afford such attire for graduations, job interviews, and other special occasions. The idea is to collect donated clothing, and establish a little “boutique' at the school where students can borrow the clothing, with the option of keeping the outfits. The effort is called the Pirate Angel Project at Pasco High School in Dade City, just a few miles from campus. This is only the latest service project for the sorority chapter, which encourages community involvement throughout the year.

Experienced Coach Needed

Graduate student DeeDee Castro, who is pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership at Saint Leo, was called upon this year to help a sports program at her old high school, where the Castro family name is held in high regard. Castro was a standout soccer player on the girls team at Zephyrhills High School from 1997 to 2000, and her dad, Phillip, had coached the boys team in the past. DeeDee went on to play college soccer at her undergraduate institution, Florida Atlantic University, and after graduation returned to coach the ZHS girls’ team for awhile. But she grew busy with her own career in teaching and education, and left the field for a time to concentrate on her graduate studies, which are now nearly complete. A few months ago, she was asked to make time for high school soccer. The boys team faced a coaching void and needed a strong leader to motivate the players for the fall season. The boys team had never had a female coach before, but several players personally asked her to lead them. When she agreed to take the part-time job (with modest pay), local newspapers reported positively on the development. “I felt that I should help them out," Coach DeeDee Castro told a sports reporter for The Tampa Tribune.