BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's and women's basketball squads have taken time over the last two weeks while being on campus during the semester break to take part in community service, particularly with the Cops 'n' Kids Literacy Program.
The 33 Greyhound student-athletes traveled to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, William Penn Elementary School and Fountain Hill Elementary School in the Bethlehem Area School District with Cops 'n' Kids as well as First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem Preschool to read books and spend time in the classrooms with the students. Cops 'n' Kids distributes free books, over 753,000 according to their website (http://www.copsnkidslv.org/) with Moravian helping give out over 1,000 books over the last two weeks. On Friday, January 12 the Greyhounds attended Fountain Hill to be part of the school's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration.
"My favorite part of heading out to these schools and reading to these amazing kids is the connection that you make with them. As much as they are happy and appreciative of us, we feel the same way, and I think that what makes it a phenomenal experience," stated sophomore forward John Hargraves. "Community service means a lot to me, because you are helping the next person. You know what can happen in life, whether it's good or bad, but everyone needs help eventually, and it's something that person will always remember and appreciate."
Over the years, Moravian Head Coaches Mary Beth Spirk and Justin Potts have made community service as major part of their programs especially during the semester break when the teams just have practice, shoot arounds and games that leave free time to fill. Moravian's entire Department of Athletics has made giving back to the community a big role for student-athletes 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. Through January 19, the Greyhounds have combined for over 900 hours of community service so far in the 2017-18 academic year.
"My favorite part about heading out to the local schools and reading to the students is seeing the memorized looks and smiles on each student's face," commented senior forward Ciara Stewart. "It always makes me happy to see how excited and interested these students are. Knowing that we are impacting and making a huge difference in these students lives, keeps me motivated to want to do more.
"Participating in community service to me personally is a way of putting yourself aside to put other first," Stewart continued. "Growing up in Montclair, New Jersey, people in my community always supported me and encouraged me in sports so I hope that one day our giving back to the community will also encourage these students to fulfill their dreams."
Both of Moravian's basketball teams will be in action on Saturday, January 20 in a Landmark Conference doubleheader at Juniata College in Huntingdon with tip-off for the men's game at 2:00 p.m. and the women's contest to follow at 4:00 p.m.