Hawkeyes Ready for Day of Caring

April 21, 2012

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Whether it’s the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials, baseball, men’s tennis or track and field… this weekend is jam-packed with sports action in Iowa City. Not only will athletes be involved in important competitions this weekend, but a number of University of Iowa student-athletes will be participating in an annual event off the field.

On Sunday morning, approximately 200 student-athletes are expected to be volunteering their time in the 14th annual Hawkeye Day of Caring. The student-athletes will be spread around the community showing that a little caring can make a difference.

The student-athletes will work with many agencies around the Iowa City area, including the VA Hospital, Penn Elementary, Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, Pathways Adult Day Health Center, Girls on the Run, Storm Water Volunteer Program and University of Iowa/Finkbine.

Hawkeye Day of Caring is the brainchild of the Iowa Student Athlete Advisory Committee (ISAAC), whose goal is to increase the level of community service among its teams and individuals. The group has successfully undertaken Day of Caring activities the last 13 years. This event is just one of many community service activities UI student-athletes participate in throughout the year.

Hannah Draxten, a senior on the women’s basketball team, is spearheading this year’s event for ISAAC. Draxten says this is an event the student-athletes look forward to every year.

“This event is very important to us, and we all enjoy taking part in it,” said Draxten. “The community has shown such great fan support for Iowa athletics, and we want to show our appreciation for them by volunteering to help out different agencies around town.”

Draxten has been working closely with 13 different Hawkeye teams who will be volunteering.

“It has been great working with all the teams and athletes involved with Day of Caring,” Draxten said. “Since it is an event that people enjoy, it has been fun to plan the event. It makes it easy to coordinate when you know that it is something that people want to be involved in.”

The 13 teams that will be participating Sunday include: women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s track and field and cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, football, field hockey, soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s swimming and diving.

When deciding on which agencies to support, Iowa works with the United Way to find agencies that need help with various tasks.

“Jill Schnoebelen has been a big help in contacting agenciesthat might need volunteers and then getting those requests to us” said Draxten. “It has been a great partnership with United Way, and we look forward to continue working with them on this event in the future.”

The men’s basketball team will be helping the Local Foods Connection. The team will be feeding and watering animals, cleaning animals’ homes and mulching rows of plants. Aaron White, who will be participating in his first Day of Caring, is looking forward to this weekend.

“Anytime we can give back to the community that support us, we are all for it,” White said. “This is a big weekend in Iowa athletics and doing what we can from a volunteer standpoint will be a great cap to the weekend.”

Men’s basketball head coach Fran McCaffery is a big believer in community service activities and is proud of his team and the many other Hawkeye squads that will be volunteering.

“We believe community service activities are a great way to give back and show how much we appreciate their support,” said McCaffery. “We have a saying in the UI Department of Athletics, ‘Today’s Hawkeyes Are Tomorrow’s Leaders’ and we take great pride in helping mold our student-athletes into leaders, on and off the field.”

For Draxten and the women’s basketball team specifically, they will be stationed in Coralville helping with Girls on the Run. The team will help prepare signage and decorations. Draxten said she and her teammates are ready to put their creative minds to work.

“We have a lot of creativity and personality within our team, so I’m excited to see what we will be able to come up with,” Draxten said. “It will be a fun day!”

Not only do community service events such as the Day of Caring assist the community, but it gives the student-athletes first-hand experience and knowledge of how important activities such as these are.