EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – With the 2015 season just weeks away, the University of Connecticut softball team spent part of its offseason volunteering at East Hartford Middle School, taking part in the Goal Line Project.
In early November, the Husky squad traveled to the city of East Hartford to meet with students in grades 6-8 at EHMS to watch videos portraying life situations in which bystanders and observers needed to make decisions that were best for all parties. Husky players discussed strategies for making smart decisions with students and participated in active conversations in hopes of preparing the children to act decisively and with integrity when they are faced with difficult circumstances.
East Hartford police officer Ken Sullivan, who serves as the school’s resource officer, spoke highly of the program and its impact on the students.
“The program allows middle school students the opportunity to hear from younger adults,” said Sullivan. “Instead of listening to teachers and parents, we give the middle school students an opportunity to engage in open conversations with the student athletes. We’ve found the program to be extremely beneficial.”
“Being a UConn student-athlete is about taking pride in everything you do, whether it being on the field, in the classroom or out in the community,” said senior infielder Emily O’Donnell. “Being able to help others shows what UConn and our athletic department is all about. Having the opportunity to share what we are so fortunate to have is one of the best and most rewarding parts of being a UConn student athlete.”
The Goal Line Project was created in 2007 through a grant from the SBM Charitable Foundation to help aspiring young athletes become aware of important issues that will encounter as part of their active lifestyles. It is currently being funded by a grant from SBMCF and it is administered and sponsored by the following organizations and agencies: East Hartford ChildPlan, University of Connecticut Athletics Department, East Hartford Middle School Administration and Physical Education Staff, East Hartford Youth Task Force and the East Hartford Department of Youth Services.
The Huskies begin practice next Tuesday in preparation for the season-opener against Northern Illinois University at the Trojan Classic in Troy, Ala. on Feb. 20.