SAAC In ACCtion: Following the Heels

Dec. 8, 2010

What began as a school project, Allison Barnes’ blog has since developed into a window into the passions and lifestyle of a UNC student-athlete. Originally Allison wanted to provide an insight to some of the aspects of daily life and the roles of a student-athlete roles and daily life. Former UNC Swimmer and current Undergraduate Assistant Coach, she also wanted to help shed a light on some of the stereotypes and misconceptions onlookers sometimes have about student-athletes.

Allison let her passion for athletics and community service reflect through the blog as it now selectively focuses on community outreach initiatives that Carolina student-athletes are pursuing. The Carolina Athletics blog has helped create a connection for people to see UNC athletes for more than their sporting abilities and recognize their passion for helping the community as well.

Just a few of the initiatives that Allison’s blog has covered include:

Carolina Dreams at Late Night with Roy on October 15th was featured in “A Very Special Late Night” entry. Originally started by David Werry, a former Men’s lacrosse player, Carolina Dreams is a program where NC Children’s Hospital patients and their families are invited to come spend time with student-athletes and join them in attending an athletic event. Carolina Dreams hosts many events throughout the academic year at football, basketball, baseball games and other events. This particular occasion, Women’s Tennis along with the Swimming & Diving team hosted over 50 people at the annual Late Night with Roy basketball preview.

In “Women’s LAX Run to Keep Eve’s Memory Alive”, Women’s Lacrosse dedicated their practice on November 6th to the 2nd Eve Carson Memorial 5K for Education in honor of the late former Student Body President. Since the tragedy in the spring of 2008, students have rallied to support her legacy through this annual event to raise money for the Eve Carson Memorial Scholarship and to First Book, a national literacy organization.

“Women’s Gymnastics Lends a Hand for Build a Block” highlights the team working with Habitat for Humanity in Orange County. The team helped Build a Block in achieving the program’s goal this year of building 10 homes for 10 families in 10 months. The community recently reported record high numbers of local applicants for Habitat housing. Carolina Athletics responding to this need by beginning this initiative in the fall and will continue their efforts throughout the spring.

Offensive Guard Alan Pec and the UNC Football team were featured in “A Long Standing Tradition for UNC Football” as the entry delved into the team’s tradition of visiting N.C. Hospital patients on the Friday before game day. In the last 5 years, Pec hasn’t missed a single visit. For over 10 years, the tradition has carried on as more players get the opportunity to serve the N.C. Hospital and its patients. The visit highlighted in the Carolina Athletics blog mentioned that about 40 players went to the hospital before the UNC vs. VT game.

Some of the other initiatives to watch for include:

Over the holiday season, many teams participate in the “Share Your Holidays” initiative. One team in particular has gone above and beyond. After every Football game, the players started donating part or all of their allotted meal money to the cause. Throughout the season, they have collectively raised around $3,000 for each of the two families they intend to help. Not only do the players get involved, but Coach Davis pledges to match their donations. Even the coaches’ wives get involved by helping pick out presents and help wrap. And lastly, once the gifts are wrapped, the players personally deliver them to the families.

In the spring, UNC SAAC will be teaming up with nearby Glenwood Elementary School’s third grade classes to visit and interact with the kids weekly throughout the semester. Student-Athletes from a variety of teams will come in each week to help kids with their writing, reading, math, and other skills. In April, the Carolina Student-Athletes plan to host a field day for all the third grade classes on campus.

Learn more about what the Tar Heels are doing in the community at: