The Foresters were hard at work today as they split up and visited four different organizations within the greater Lake Forest and North Chicago areas. Groups were sent to help out at CROYA (Committee Representing Our Young Adults), the Ragdale Foundation, Equestrian Connection and at PADS Crisis Services of North Chicago.
At CROYA, our Foresters spent their time working on community service projects and playing games with a pack of middle-school students. CROYA Service and Outreach Coordinator Joanne Yorro said, “Having the Lake Forest College football team here was incredible. Their presence teaches our students that no matter how old a person is, they can always learn something from them.” When asked what his favorite part of working with the CROYA students was, defensive lineman Casey Flynn ’12 said, “Getting to walk around town and perform acts of kindness with the CROYA kids. It’s really fun to do our community service project every year because whether it’s a simple hello or cleaning out a horse barn, we are leaving a mark that says that athletes are not ignorant of their surroundings.” Eighth-grader Kyle Hanrahan wrapped it up nicely by saying, “Having them here was awesome. In fact, it was epic.”
A second batch of Foresters was sent to PADS Crisis Services where they helped to repaint the main community center. Mary Ellen Lovell of North Chicago Community Partners commented, “It was great to see their eagerness to come and help those whose lives are difficult on most days. Our residents were excited to see the group come to make the space better.” Upon returning from the shelter, defensive back Mike Nelson ’12 said, “Teamwork was accomplished here today due to hard work and dedication of the Forester brothers and it’s always good to give back to the community because the community gives so much back to us.”
Community service has been at the forefront of the Forester football program for several years. Coach Cat emphasizes the importance of community service with his players by integrating projects and outreach opportunities into their schedules, both during the season and throughout the rest of the year. Coach Cat said, “I feel that giving back to the community is essential to success as a team. Not only are our players able to give of themselves, but they are also able to grow as individuals and as teammates. It is encouraging to see so many of our players taking their projects to heart, and becoming fully invested in helping the people around them.”
After lending their help to the community today, the Foresters are back at work on the field—but not without remembering how fortunate they are to be student-athletes at Lake Forest College.
-Elise Beckman, contributing author