From the HCC sports desk:
BEL AIR, Md.—The student-athletes at Harford gave back during the holiday season. The Student-Athlete Advisory Club (SAAC), Harford’s adaptation of the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council, wanted to do something good for the community in the holiday months, which led them to participate in the Mason Dixon Community Services Adopt-A-Family program.
SAAC adopted a low-income, local Harford County family with a single-mother and two children, aged three and eight, and collected food, clothing and toys from each of Harford’s 12 athletic teams. The student-athletes wrapped the gifts on Friday and delivered them to SAAC’s adopted family later in the day.
SAAC advisor and athletic trainer Kim Henry guided the student-athletes to the Mason Dixon organization, but she’ll be the first to say that the idea of doing something for the holidays was all the student-athletes’ idea.
“I helped get SAAC in contact with Mason Dixon Community Services, since I knew about the organization, but it was the athletes’ idea to do something for the holidays,” she said. “I was very impressed with the turnout from all of the student-athletes. The group of student-athletes that were more a part of the whole process have a greater realization about the effect that [giving] can have on others.”
SAAC President Carlos Zamora (Fallston, Md./Fallston), of the men’s soccer team, and Vice President Chris Pappas (Fallston, Md./Fallston), of the men’s basketball team, were the driving force behind the holiday giving campaign, as they were both instrumental in coordinating the program with the Mason Dixon organization and the adopted family.
Pappas immediately got a taste of the hardship that many families struggle with not only during the holidays, but throughout the year. After Zamora communicated with the Mason Dixon organization and received the adopted family’s contact information, Pappas attempted to call the family and introduce himself as a member of SAAC at Harford. He was met with a disconnected phone line announcement and was perplexed at first, but then came to the realization that the phone company may have shut off the power, due to a late bill or some other extenuating circumstance.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” Pappas said. “You get to experience the unfortunate situations that many families deal with on a regular-basis. It’s nice to help a family which needs help around the holidays.”
Eventually, SAAC got a hold of the family and found out about the children’s likes and dislikes, clothing sizes, etc., which it relayed to Harford’s teams along with a category that each team was responsible for donating. By midday Friday, the athletic training office was overflowing with gifts of food, clothing and toys that needed to be wrapped, thanks to the effort of all of Harford’s student-athletes and coaches.
“The experience was very humbling,” Zamora said. “I would definitely do it again and, after seeing the support from all of the athletes, it makes me want to do more with SAAC. SAAC is what we [student-athletes] make out of it and I’d like to see a gradual increase of more things done.”