May 9, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. - The Ole Miss volleyball team reached out to give back to the community recently, taking a weekend and teaming up with Habitat for Humanity of Jackson to help construct a house in the Garden Circle area of the state's capital city.
The Garden Circle area is one that has seen local residents working to reclaim the neighborhood and transform it from what had become an illegal dumping ground to a residential area they can be proud of once again. And with the help of Habitat for Humanity and volunteers the residents are seeing that dream come closer to reality.
The neighborhood has nearly 22 houses to be completed in the area through Habitat for Humanity and 15 of them are expected to be completed in May, according to news reports in Jackson.
"It was a great opportunity for the team to get out and be active in really giving back to the state of Mississippi," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin. "It is important to take opportunities like this to help other people, but it's also important to be able to get young people out there and let them see the sort of impact they can have in the community. It was a real teaching moment."
The Rebel volleyball team jumped right in and went to work, helping other volunteers take the project from concrete slab to a home that will help a local family and put the neighborhood one step closer to what the residents want for their community.
"One of the great things about having an athletic team come and work on a project like this is the built in sense of teamwork and camaraderie they have that others might not when they come to a project and haven't met anyone else," said Karla Anderson-Sarmiento, Volunteer Development Coordinator at Habitat for Humanity of Jackson. "It was a high-energy site because of the presence of the volleyball team. I'm sure we benefitted from their presence as much as they did from being there."
And working to help improve the lives of others and the world around them was one of the big things that the athletes took with them from their work on the project.
"It was such an amazing experience and one that was really humbling," said rising senior Whitney Craven, an outside hitter on the volleyball team. "It was great to get out there with my teammates and really feel like we were making a difference in someone's life. The sort of impact it had on everyone involved is just unbelievable. Working on a project like this really makes you stop and think about how much you have to consider those around you, because any of us could be in need of help at any time."