Student athletes have a lot of work between balancing school and sports, but they also have to handle being a role model.
In 2014, the Ravens football team held a pie-in-the face event in the atrium which raised more than $400 for Relay for Life. This was just one of the events the football team has been involved with.
Ravens athletic director Jennifer Brenning said the football team visited an elderly home before Christmas, and they also visited Shepherds of Good Hope, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to helping the homeless in Ottawa, according to the organization’s website.
The women’s hockey team has had its share of involvement this past year, the most recent being Hockey Fest on Jan. 11. This featured them and the University of Ottawa women’s hockey team teaching young girls different hockey skills.
Olympic women’s hockey gold medalist Cassie Campbell was also there alongside the Ravens and Gee-Gees.
“It was a good turnout with the 230 kids that were involved,” Ravens forward Chelsea Lefebvre said. “A lot of the kids were excited because we had Cassie Campbell there.”
Hockey Fest featured children of all ages being trained by high-level hockey players to improve their skills.
The football team has also been involved in training initiatives with children.
“We go to a lot of schools. Last year, especially, groups of five or six would go for 20 to 30 minutes and get the kids to do different football drills like speed and ladder drills, easy things of course but still fun little things to do,” Ravens receiver Nate Behar said.
These community outreach programs are important because they give these children someone to look up to, as well as tear down misconceptions about athletes, Behar said.
“It’s a good thing, especially coming from a sport like football,” he said. “When some people think of football they think of rough, tough jocks. I think when people see football players in a community involvement showing that they care, I think that is always beneficial. It sends a strong message.”
Lefebvre said it also gives children goals to strive to achieve, such as becoming a varsity athlete.
“It definitely gets our name out there, and we just hope that someone can use us as a role model too, and to give kids the training to play at our level someday,” she said.
The different community outreach programs can be credited to a variety of people, whether it be the athletic council, the coaches, or the players, Brenning said.
Ravens receivers coach Josh Sacobie is also the community outreach organizer, and part of his job is finding ways for the Ravens football team give back.
For the women’s hockey team, it is often players or coaches who choose to participate in events such as Hockey Fest.
“All of our teams are very involved, and I don’t know actually everything that they do, it’s hard to say which team is doing more than the other but I know that they are all very involved,” Brenning said.
“The teams actually have a bit of a contest of community involvement, and the women’s rugby team won it last year.”