BROCKPORT, N.Y. - The Brockport athletics department came together to raise money and collect gifts for the Barclay Elementary School in the Brockport School District. Associate Head Athletic Trainer, John Jackson, led the charge in bringing everyone together for one common goal.
"My daughter, Tara Jackson, is a third grade teacher at the school and she told me about the need with their holiday fund," stated Jackson. "I went to the athletic department to see if they would be willing to assist, and the response was overwhelming."
The holiday fund at the Barclay School helps families that are in need during the holidays. Through the fund, people can sponsor a family or give money towards helping a family. When the opportunity to help came up, every Golden Eagle team jumped on board and began to contribute their own funds to the cause. Some coaches even matched what the team raised.
Teri Caldwell, a school counselor at Barclay, is excited about the growth she sees in the amount of help being provided. The money raised, will go to a holiday store that will allow kids to select free gifts for their families and it will also go to selected families to help with the holidays.
"It started with just one teacher adopting a family for the holidays and it turned into the [Brockport] athletic department getting together to give back," stated Caldwell. "Now we have groups, including Brockport that raise money, buy gifts and adopt families."
However, the helping hands didn't just contribute money. The athletic training club, filled with athletic trainers and students, along with athletic training faculty, raised money and then bought gifts that they wrapped. Alex Gilbert, one of the athletic training students, expressed his happiness in being able to help.
"As a club we wanted to find a way to really help through our community service project this year," Gilbert said. "When John [Jackson] came up to us with this opportunity we were all willing and excited to contribute. With the help of family and friends we were able to raise around $500 dollars, which was used to purchase different gifts."
In just a short three weeks, the athletic department as a whole was able to raise over $2,600 dollars towards the Barclay Elementary School holiday fund. A part of that money comes from women's basketball, baseball and the athletic department adopted three families, totaling 14 people, ten of which are kids.
"Our team is so grateful for all the support our program receives, so we wanted to find a way to give back, It meant a lot to all of us knowing we could help a family in need to have a great holiday," Brockport women's basketball player Emily Merrill, a senior, shared. "This experience meant a lot to the team and myself, knowing we were able to help a family have a great Christmas."
"One of the most important things we can show our students at Brockport is to give back to the community," expressed Jackson. "No matter where you end up calling home, it is important to find a cause and give not only money, but time towards that cause. It may be the most rewarding thing in your life."
"I think everyone involved is hoping that this evolves into a relationship we can tap into in the future and not just around the holidays," said Caldwell, "it is something that really benefits the kids and they enjoy it."