Gymnastics Brings Christmas Joy to Local Community
Dec. 21, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State women's gymnastics team has done its part during the Christmas season by giving back to the community in a variety of ways. The team volunteered with the Sensitive Santa project for kids with Autism, cooked breakfast at the Ronald McDonald house, made t-shirts for the Children's Hospital and adopted a family for Christmas.
The squad dressed as Santa's elves for the Sensitive Santa event that was held at Crabtree Valley Mall while it was closed. The program was designed to allow children with sensory processing disorders to visit Santa in a safe and calm environment. Members of the team interacted with all of the children and asked about their Christmas lists.
"Participating in community service has been something that the girls have really taken to heart," said assistant coach Colleen Johnson. "It's not something that we ask them to do, but they have taken the initiative to do it."
In addition, the team also cooked breakfast for families at the Ronald McDonald House to lift the spirit of the families during the holiday season. The charity provides comfort, safety and advocacy in a home-like environment for families with critically ill or injured children.
Another project in which the team participated was making t-shirts for the Children's Hospital for the patients to wear as smocks. Each member took time to design a shirt for someone at the Children's Hospital. Lastly, the program delivered meals to families for Christmas to make sure the families are able to enjoy a great meal during the holiday season.
"The team's initiative to participate in these events just shows the type of student-athletes that we have in our program," said Johnson. "They always come back with so much joy and talk about how much they loved it, so that's great to hear as a coach."
The program has won the ImPACK award five times (1999, 2001, 2005, 2011 and 2012), given to a team each year based on the team GPA and "Above and Beyond" activities, such as community service.
NC State opens the season on the road Jan. 4 at LSU.