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April 16, 2010

GU Athletics makes great strides with community service day at STRIVE DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gallaudet University athletics department along with President T. Alan Hurwitz and First Lady Vicki Hurwitz took time out of their busy schedules to give back to community on Sunday, April 11. The group made up of mainly student-athletes from the baseball, cheerleading, football and men’s basketball programs made the short walk down 8th street in Northeast Washington to STRIVE DC to help out the non-profit group with its annual spring cleaning day.

“Vicki and I believe it is important for all Gallaudet University students, faculty and staff to give back to our surrounding community. We are proud of our athletics program and their achievements in athletic competition but we are more proud of our student-athletes and their accomplishments in the classroom and in the community. This was a great event to be a part of and we look forward to seeing the Gallaudet community volunteer more in the future,” said Hurwitz.

The service day was set-up by Gallaudet baseball coach Curtis Pride who worked with Home Depot to get cleaning supplies donated. Pride and his team volunteered with STRIVE DC earlier this season back in late February.

“We (coaches) feel it is important that student-athletes develop a sense of giving back to the community,” said Pride. “The work they do now hopefully will motivate them to continue to volunteer in good causes throughout the rest of their lives.”

Gallaudet’s student-athletes began its service day at 10 a.m. and the group of over 50 worked at least three hours and a select few worked over five hours each. The Bison cleaned and washed the windows, floors, carpets, rugs and bathrooms of the STRIVE DC building. Donated men’s and women’s business clothes were sorted and organized and the computers in the media room were worked on.

“In hard economic times, acts of kindness by individuals enables STRIVE DC to help unemployed people move from unemployment to employment. The student-athletes from Gallaudet University volunteered to make a difference at STRIVE DC,” said STRICE DC Executive Director Chris Hart-Wright. “This was the second event in which Gallaudet student-athletes volunteered their time and talents this semester at STRIVE DC. The support was overwhelming. We have not had a thorough cleaning of the building since we moved here five years ago. In five hours we saved thousand of dollars in getting the building cleaned.”

“It was an honor to be a part of such a great community service project. Watching our student-athletes give back to the D.C. community was priceless,” said GU Assistant Athletic Director and men’s basketball coach Jeb Barber. “It was a treat to have President Hurwitz and his wife there to lend a hand on our project. That kind of commitment to the students and the community is truly infectious. I hope we can continue this connection with STRIVE into the future.”

The Bison football team felt this was such an important opportunity to give back to the community around Gallaudet that the coaching staff decided to use one of its 16 spring practice days to make sure the entire team volunteered at the service day.

“It was just an overall positive experience to be a part of. Its not only a good feeling to give back to the people in our community but it is always nice to see our President lending a helping hand and being such a huge supporter of athletics,” said Gallaudet football coach Chuck Goldstein.

Hart-Wright added that when participants come to STRIVE DC they want a place that can help them start over.  The place needs to look and feel and receptive.

“The student-athletes have assist STRIVE DC in getting this look and feel. Several students stated they were interested in continuing to volunteer at STRIVE DC,” said Hart-Wright. “We really appreciate the relationship we have with Gallaudet University.”

GU football and track and field assistant coach John Davis summed the day up well with; “It always great when our athletics program can give back to the community but this was all about STRIVE and what they do for the people of D.C.”

STRIVE DC provides free job-readiness training, assistance in job placement and two years of post-placement to chronically unemployed adults in the Washington, D.C. area. The program was established in 1999 to reduce the overwhelming percentage of unemployed residents in Washington, D.C. and fill the void of effective programs addressing the issue. STRIVE DC is modeled after the nationally recognized job placement program run by East Harlem Employment Service known as Strive, Inc. Like its national model, STRIVE DC aims to place 75-80 percent of its graduates in jobs and keep 75-80 percent employed for at least two years. To learn more about STRIVE DC please visit its Web site – www.strivedc.org. Plus if you are interested in volunteering please contact them at 202.484.1264 or e-mail info@strivedc.org.

Pictures from the Service Day at STRIVE DC

GU student-athletes enter STRIVE DC to do community service.

President Hurwitz holds a conversation with a group of students.

Gallaudet student-athletes sort business clothes.

Gallaudet student-athletes clean and fix up old computers.

Gallaudet student-athletes organize and sort business clothes at STRIVE DC