AMES, Iowa – Iowa State student-athletes make it a priority to give back to their community in many ways.
Through the efforts of the Office of Student-Athlete Development (OSAD) at Iowa State, it’s not uncommon to see your favorite Cyclone visiting hospitals, reading at elementary schools or assisting at a variety of community service endeavors around central Iowa.
Participating in these outreach programs is a great way for athletes to serve their community and influence others in a positive manner who look up to them as heroes.
For the second year in a row, the OSAD is offering a volunteer mission trip to a foreign country in conjunction with the Soles4Souls program, a nonprofit organization that assists with the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.
This year’s destination is Costa Rica, and 10 Iowa State student-athletes have volunteered for the trip, May 6-12: Brian Peavy (football), Marcel Spears Jr. (football), Quinn Sonntag (football), Alec McDowell (wrestling), Merin Mundt (soccer), Meaghan Sievers (gymnastics), Jess Schaben (volleyball), Liera Bender (tennis), Emma Ruehle (swimming) and Jessi Storer (swimming).
Student-Athlete Affairs Coordinator at Iowa State Joanna Beaton will chaperone the Cyclone contingent on the trip. She sees first-hand the incredible involvement of Cyclone student-athletes in community outreach programs and this trip is another way for Cyclone Nation to give back.
“Our student-athletes run the Soles4Souls campaign in Ames and this is a wonderful opportunity to see their service work come full circle where they actually fit the children with shoes,” Beaton said. “Some of these kids have never had shoes before and it is an amazing experience to see their faces light up. The children are so appreciative and excited to see our student-athletes, which is really cool.”
Last year’s Soles4Souls mission to Haiti was an incredible success. Cyclone student-athletes visited four different orphanages sizing and washing feet of children.
ISU senior gymnast Hilary Green estimated she washed 150 feet at each orphanage and did that for approximately 600 kids throughout the trip.
“The people were just amazing, loving and caring,” Green said. “They welcomed us with open arms. We were able to build relationships with those children even though there was a language barrier. We came together and created bonds and relationships that nobody can break.”
Spears, an All-Big 12 linebacker, didn’t hesitate to sign up for the trip when asked by Beaton.
“I just felt like it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss,” Spears said. “Joanna showed me the video of the mission trip they had last year. They did such a great job and I felt like I needed to be involved. I am very excited about the trip. I have done a lot of community service here in central Iowa, but to be able to go out of the country to help others in need is going to be life changing for me.”