June 4, 2013
CONWAY - The Coastal Carolina volleyball team under first-year head coach Jozsef Forman was busy this offseason helping the local community. The team took part in many community service and community engagement projects throughout the year including hosting clinics at local schools, working with local club teams and also leading the CCU athletics holiday food drive.
"The past year has been great for our program, not only on a competitive scale, but for the work that we have achieved in the community," said Forman. "I am so proud of my team and the staff for contributing in these efforts. Yes, finding time to excel as a volunteer isn't easy, but the reward can be double that of winning a championship. Our goal is to get the Coastal Carolina name out there, and the sport of volleyball as a whole. As we attempt to build the culture around Myrtle Beach, our feedback to date has been nothing short of positive and fulfilling."
Over the past several months, the team has gone to nine different local schools to demonstrate the sport of volleyball. Organized by assistant coaches Gabe Aramian and Dan Rhodes, the staff would take 3-5 student-athletes to each school to spend around an hour demonstrating the sport as well as interacting with the children on the court. The team went to Aynor Middle School, Burgess Elementary, Conway Middle School, Loris Elementary School, Ocean Bay Middle School, Palmetto Academy of Learning, River Oaks Elementary, Seaside Elementary and Whittemore Middle School. The team was able to interact with over 1,600 local youth.
"Our students had a great time with Coach Forman and the volleyball players," said Seaside Elementary teacher Michelle Arnold. "I was impressed with Coach Forman's ability to get so many children moving!"
The coaching staff also helped volunteer at the Grand Strand Juniors, a local volleyball club for players ages 12-18. The Grand Strand Juniors are a rising organization that has recently broken the ranks as one of the top ten clubs in the Palmetto Region, which covers all of South Carolina. The GSJ picked up a first place finish at regionals to qualify for USAV Junior Olympics for the first time in club history. Three teams finished in the top five at regionals at their respective age divisions, which was also a first in club history. Five teams finished in the top-10 at regionals for the first time as well.
This past December the team finished first in CCU's annual Athletics' Holiday Food Drive. The winner was determined by the pounds of food divided by the number of student-athletes on each team. The volleyball team finished with an average of 168.5 pounds of food per student-athlete, with a total of 2,696 pounds. The second-place team, men's golf, had 93.12 pounds per student-athlete. CCU assistant coach Dan Rhodes was a huge part of the team's success as he solicited food donations from all over the state and even went into North Carolina.
As a department, CCU donated 7,161 pounds of food to four organizations including the Salvation Army, Churches Assisting People, Pee Dee Elementary and the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.
This is just a sample of the many service projects members of the CCU volleyball team are a part of. Many of the student-athletes participated in other projects on their own or with other organizations on campus including rising-senior Meghan Laffin who is part of the prestigious Wall Fellows Program. The Wall Fellows Program helped out with Freedom Readers this past semester helping plan a fundraiser for the organization. Freedom Readers, Inc. is a non-profit organization that connects people through a comprehensive literacy program that offers individuals opportunities to improve academic performance and career prospects in order to alleviate poverty.