The ten members of the 2013 Allstate WBCA Good Works Team® for basketball were announced Feb. 26, and they include athletes with a diverse variety of community service work.
Blanche Alverson of Auburn, Whitney Hand of Oklahoma, Caroline King of Brown, Drey Mingo of Purdue, Gizelle Studevent of Penn State, Amanda Deal of California State University Los Angeles, Kathryn Ganser of Merrimack College, Logan Frederick of Skidmore College, Kayla Wheeler of Rochester Institute of Technology and Emily Huber of Ave Maria University comprise the first Good Works Team® for basketball.
Athletes were nominated by their schools, and an elite panel of judges voted on the candidates. The panel included Tamika Catchings, Alana Beard, Marsha Sharp, Nell Fortner, Carolyn Peck and LaChina Robinson.
Catchings, who heads up her own non-profit organization, said it was an honor to be a part of the naming of Allstate and WBCA’s first team honoring community service.
“It’s great to see and to recognize a group of young ladies that get it – who know you have to give back to the community not only on the court, but off the court,” Catchings said.
One story she found particulary inspiring was Mingo’s. The Purdue forward suffered permanent hearing loss in Nov. 2010 after contracting bacterial meningitis. She began a non-profit organization called Sounds of Serenity, which helps raise funds for and awareness of children with hearing disabilities. Catchings was born with a hearing disability.
Catchings said she also found Hand’s work inspiring, because there is so much of it. The Sooner guard visited Haiti three times to provide relief since a major earthquake almost destroyed the country three years ago. She has also lead her team’s community service efforts, and has done extra projects on her own such as mentoring children.
Work done by the remainder of the team is expansive and varied.
Alverson started a program called Ballin’ 4 Books, to collect books for children. King has worked with Make-A-Wish foundations and has volunteered at elementary schools. Studevent created a program to help prevent bullying in schools.
Deal has worked at orphanages in El Salvador, has assisted at battered women’s shelters and lead canned food drives. Ganser has been an instrumental volunteer on her campus and has helped restore homes for needy families.
Frederick has volunteered at numerous organizations on and off campus, including the Fire Department. Wheeler has raised funds to build water wells in Third World countries, and has helped extensively at a nursing care center. Huber biked across America last summer to raise 250,000 for Multiple Sclerosis.
Catchings said she hopes to be on the voting panel for the 2013 Allstate WBCA Good Works Team® for years to come, and she expects the number of nominations to increase as word gets out about the effort.
“I’m already excited about next year,” Catching said.