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BW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Toy Drive Benefits Ronald McDonald House

SAAC members Nathan Katz and Rachel Womeldorf
SAAC members Nathan Katz and Rachel Womeldorf

BEREA, OHIO —  Baldwin Wallace University is extremely proud of its community outreach and community service programs.  Recently, its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) collected money from various campus groups, organizations and athletics teams and purchased toys and supplies for the Children at the Ronald McDonald House and Rainbow Babies Children Hospital in Cleveland.

"This year we decided we were going to do a money drive," said sophomore Rachel Womeldorf (Lewis Center/ Olentangy), a women's basketball student-athlete and treasurer of the SAAC. "We raised funds from various athletic teams and members of the athletic department. We went out and purchased various toys and grocery items for the Ronald McDonald House.

"We had a list of toys to purchase for the children and we broke it down by age category," continued Womeldorf. "We tried to get different toys for each different age category. That way we were able to get a little something for each age group.

"It was a great way to bring the BW athletic community together during the holiday season, and do something special for someone who isn't as fortunate as we are," said Womeldorf.

The program was initiated by the Swimming & Diving Head Coach Laura Wolff-Demaline, integrated into the SAAC three years ago and conducted this year by SAAC and Student-Athlete Services intern Korey Sharpley.

"Coach Wolff began this program with the swimming and diving team when she arrived on campus," said Sharpley. "Three years ago, we integrated it into the SAAC Community Service Program. This year, Coach Wolff, Rachel Womeldorf, men's tennis student-athlete Nathan Katz (Upper Arlington/ Bexley) and myself helped to deliver the toys and groceries to the Roald McDonald House at Rainbow on December 9."

"I'm extremely proud of all of our student athletes who gave money, helped plan, and follow through with the holiday drive," continued Sharpley. "It's a labor-intensive undertaking from a logistical standpoint. However, it provides an excellent opportunity for BW student-athletes to live out the university's mission of becoming contributing, compassionate citizens."

"The holiday drive is only one of many occasions where BW student athletes are able to step into the role of servant leadership," said Sharpley. "Look for the Yellow Jackets to be active in serving the local community this spring"

Katz also felt that the program was a success.

"This year, we [the SAAC] were able to raise more than $300 worth of toys and groceries that were all donated to the Ronald McDonald House and Rainbow Babies Children Hospital," said Katz. "It is always a rewarding experience doing this event. We are helping those less fortunate which is what the holiday season is truly all about."

"We had student-athletes from almost every sport on our campus donate their money towards this cause with great success," continued Katz. "It really says a lot about the student-athletes who choose to come to Baldwin Wallace to be a difference-maker for our team and our community."