EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- In the midst of its spring season, the University of Connecticut volleyball team spent time volunteering at East Hartford Middle School, taking part in the Goal Line Project.
In early April, 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."
"It was really refreshing to have a chance to help other people out," said junior Erika Thomas. "We're normally really focused on volleyball but this gave us a chance to go and spend time with a group of kids who were looking for positive influences in their lives. The kids were really appreciative of what we did."
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.
Connecticut returns to the court on Saturday, April 11 when it travels to Kingston, R.I. to take on Providence, URI and Brown in a round-robin tournament.