BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's and women's basketball teams have spent the last two weeks on campus with no classes to attend during the semester break, and with just practices, shootarounds and games, the Greyhounds took the time to keep up the annual tradition of giving back through community service.
The 33 players from both squads have teamed up with Cops 'n' Kids Children's Literacy Program to travel to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, William Penn Elementary School and Fountain Hill Elementary School in the Bethlehem Area School District as well as First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem Preschool to read books and spend time in the classrooms with the students. Click here for a photo gallery.
"I thought it was a great experience trying to give back to little kids," stated freshman forward John Hargraves from the men's team. "So many times people forget about where you came from and the steps you had to make to get where you are now. To be able to go back and show the kids that all the work that you are doing now pays off in the future, it means a lot to Moravian and me. When you see the smiles on those faces, we look like superstars to them. But as much as we are superstars in their eyes, they are also superstars to us because they inspire us to make ourselves better so we set a better example the next time we see them. I can't wait to go back and see them again because they inspire me. I'm just so thankful that I was able to go back give them something to look up to and look forward to when they get older."
Recently, Cops 'n' Kids distributed its 776,000th free book with Moravian helping give out over 1,000 books over the last two weeks. On Friday, January 13 the Greyhounds and PPL employees attended Fountain Hill to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Community service is a great way to give back to the community," commented junior center Ciara Stewart from the women's squad. "These past two weeks visiting the different schools and reading and speaking to the children have been great. Personally I love children so it definitely inspired me. I'm one of the oldest cousins in my family so I've been surrounded by children this age my whole life so it really reminds me of home when I see how happy they are and how thankful they are for us giving our time to the schools. Not only do they learn from us but we also can learn many things from them. I also think it's ironic to think that we all were sitting in those same spots a few years ago. It's great that both teams are able to go to these schools as role models for the students."
Moravian Head Coaches Mary Beth Spirk and Justin Potts have made community service as major part of their programs as has the entire Moravian College Department of Athletics with after school programs with the Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem and Marvine Elementary School in addition to working with Cops 'n' Kids and other projects throughout the year.
"I enjoy doing community service even when I was back at home for my high school Holy Spirit including basketball clinics and cleaning up the local area," noted freshman guard C.J. Barnes. "Reading to kids, you can have a big effect on them, and that is a great thing because you never know how they might take it. As long as you make an impact on something, they can take it and run with it to help them for the better. When they get older and are about to be in your shoes, they might remember what you did and want to see what it is like when they help others."
Both Moravian basketball teams will be in action on Saturday, January 14 in a Landmark Conference doubleheader at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with tip-off for the women's game at 2:00 p.m. and the men's contest to follow at 4:00 p.m.