E&H Student-Athletes Share Holiday Spirit With Area Children
EMORY, Va. – The Emory & Henry College Athletic Department held its annual Christmas party on Thursday afternoon, benefitting the Hayters Gap Head Start program. Over 50 children were in attendance for the event in the King Center which featured Christmas music, presents and even a visit from Santa Claus.
“Being a part of a team at Emory is a special family in itself,” said junior volleyball player Tessa Burton. “The Christmas party is something we really look forward to every year because we all feel so blessed in giving back to the community. It allows us to come together as our special family and help kids have the Christmas they deserve.”
The program began over 20 years ago when then-Head Volleyball Coach Dr. Margaret Hutson and the volleyball team adopted a family whose Christmas might not have been so merry. The spirit of giving grew and soon all of the women’s teams were participating. For the past two years, men’s sports have been included as well.
“I think it’s amazing how much a small contribution from our student-athletes can make a child’s Christmas a memorable one,” junior baseball player Mark Robertson observed. “Days like this are ones that make me most proud to be an athlete at Emory & Henry.”
For this year’s event, 178 of Emory & Henry’s student-athletes gave of their time and resources to help out members of the community which has supported the College so much in its 175-year history.
“This event has been a great opportunity to make Christmas a little brighter for these kids, but also for our student-athletes to give back to the community,” said Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Beverly Hatch. “It’s a stressful time for student-athletes here at Emory with the end of the semester, so it’s great to take a little bit of time out of the day to hang out and play with some three, four and five year olds who are thrilled that you’re there and excited to see Santa. It puts things in perspective and it’s a win-win for everybody concerned.”