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Athletes discover the value giving back to the community

By Michelle Mandeau
Published: September 2009

Many athletes, between schoolwork and practice, don’t have much time for other activities. If an athlete wants to get involved in other extracurriculars, it is generally very difficult.

Athletes Serving the Community (ASC) is designed to interfere minimally with a student-athlete’s busy schedule, and the club pledges not to conflict with sports and academics.

“ASC was formed by four fathers who had athletic children interested in volunteering, but [who] had no easy way to do it, John Westman, the vice president of ASC, said.

Each of the roughly 180 high school students, half from Newton North and half from Newton South, typically volunteer in four to six hour increments. ASC hopes that each athlete will participate in a minimum of four volunteer days per school year. The events are usually scheduled on weekends.

The Newton-wide organization offers more than just a medium for athletes to do community service for college.

“ASC is important because it helps students integrate community service into their lives at an early age. My older kids did it, and both have continued volunteering through their college years, Westman said. “ASC made them feel comfortable in volunteering situations and got them to understand the benefits [of volunteering].

“I have learned leadership, selflessness, and cooperation, senior and student co-president of ASC Cora Visnick said. Visnick is a runner and a gymnast.

According to Mary Cross, parent president of ASC, the organization was founded six years ago and is active both in and out of Newton.

Members do not have to be Newton residents or even athletes, though the group is geared towards athletes. Anyone who has busy schedules may find the group helpful.

ASC members have logged more than 100 events and 1500 hours over the last six years. The spectrum of events is very wide and includes Christmas in the City, Red Cross Blood Drives, and the Walk for Hunger. Many projects ASC is involved with are affiliated with the Special Olympics and other community efforts.
The community service benefits the people the athletes work with, as well as the students involved in the organization.

“On behalf of all the athletes, coaches and Special Olympics staff, we thank you. Despite the freezing cold courts and hectic day, your group truly did help us in a major way, Sara Ortins of Special Olympics Massachusetts said.

“The general feeling you get after attending an event is always incredibly rewarding and memorable, senior and co-president Jenn Mountain said.

ASC will be at the Club Fair and will be holding a J-Block meeting for those interested on October 15 in the Student Center.

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