Giving back to the community

Courtesy Ellen Renfroe

The 'Dream Team' is a group of athletes dedicated to community service and committed to being alcohol, drug and violence free.

It’s been a few weeks since I have written to all who follow this blog. A lot has gone on among the Lady Vol softball team, one being the beginning of SEC play. After a long weekend against Florida – a three-game sweep -- I think it is safe to say our young team finally knows what it takes to compete in this challenging league. It has been a lot of fun to watch this team grow each weekend and hopefully it will continue to do so.

Believe it or not, we actually have time for other activities outside of school and softball. This past week the entire team went to Lakeshore Park to spend a couple of hours teaching young softball players in the community basic softball skills, as well as signing autographs and taking pictures afterward. This is something we always enjoy doing as a team.

We love to give back to the Knoxville community because they are the ones who support us week in and week out during our season. Our fans, especially the young girls, are truly the ones who inspire us to give our best. Karen (Coach Weekly) is constantly reminding us that you never know who is in the stands getting to watch you play for the first time, and maybe the only time, so you should always give your best when you put on that Tennessee jersey.

Hannah McDonald and I are also involved with a group of athletes called the “Dream Team.’’ This is a special group of student-athletes from different sports, including basketball, baseball, soccer, rowing, swimming and diving, and track and field. We are committed to being alcohol, drug and violence free. Most of our commitments now are dedicated to community service. We want more than anything to have a positive impact on the young kids in our community, and to inspire them to be different.

Right now, we each spend an hour or two with kids from the Emerald Youth Foundation here in Knoxville. Many of us go to churches or other locations to hang out with these kids, help with homework and guide them through Bible studies. We not only want to inspire our community but also other student-athletes on our campus and those across the country. We want to teach kids and other collegiate athletes that it is possible to live a bold life and not give in to the popular scene of drinking, drugs and even violence.

Until next time … Go Vols!