PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team recently took time out of its busy schedule with classes and spring training to join Habitat For Humanity for a day in New Jersey.
The Quaker women helped to finish up a four-bedroom home for a family. The entire team went, and was told this was the most they had been able to get done in one day’s work with a volunteer group!
“This was a great experience for our team,” said head coach Darren Ambrose. “Giving back to the community is something we take a lot of pride in. Being able to have a small part in helping a family establish a home was a great feeling, and something we hope to do again.”
The women were split up into groups doing all kinds of chores. Some of them had to dig up and take out the silk fencing surrounding the property. Others painted shelves, closet doors, and other doors within the house. Juniors Kerry Scalora and Brianna Rano built and put together the closet shelves in all the bedrooms. A few others put the first stage of flooring down in the kitchen while Claire Walker and Haley Cooper did the same in the bathrooms. Some spent the majority of the day outside, cleaning up the multiple trees that were cut down -- from big piles of logs, to heavy branches, all the way down to twigs. In fact, Cooper, Walker and sophomore Kaitlyn Moore helped cut a tree down (mostly by pulling on it).
A few of the women helped with electricity in the house, others with calking. The bottom line: Lots of stuff got done, and the Habitat people were able to finish the day earlier than anticipated.
“It was an extremely rewarding experience,” said junior midfielder Laura Oliver. “It is amazing what a group of volunteers can do to make a difference for a family. I would not hesitate to do it again.”
“Every offseason, we have a team goal of contributing 250 hours back to the community in various ways,” said Ambrose. “We have women involved in the Big Sister mentoring program, women who have put in hours at a local soup kitchen, and still others who tutor kids in school. This was our second team project, as earlier this year they went up to Staten Island to help with the Hurricane Sandy cleanup. I am incredibly proud of all that this team does to help in various communities.”