High school athletes spend a lot of time with their teams but at Waukesha South High School, some of that time is also spent doing service projects, benefitting the community and themselves in the process.
All the athletic teams at Waukesha South are required to participate in some type of community service during their sports season. Dan Domach, South’s assistant principal of athletics and activities, started the program four years ago to help the students give back to the community.
“Our kids are not only athletes and students but they’re also community members and working to give back to the community,” Domach said.
The community service projects are a win-win proposition for the athletes. Not only are they helping the community, they’re rounding out community service requirements for college applications, building team spirit and receiving the benefit of knowing they’re helping others.
“Many times, they want to go back after their season is over,” Domach said.
The recipients of the service work are grateful for the athletes’ efforts. One memorable instance is when the football team raked leaves this past fall for people in the surrounding neighborhood, as they’ve done for the past two years.
“We have a lot of neighbors who are elderly and they’re worried about how they were going to get their yard cleaned,” Domach said.
The football team, about 70 members strong, swooped in to help, sending a powerful message of support. Some of the homeowners cried, grateful to have the work taken care of, Domach said.
Each of the school’s 21 of head coaches has an open slate of what they’re allowed to do for their service project, Domach said. Some have made connections with charities; others have identified a need in the community. Some solicit input from team members, such as this year’s Poms and cheerleaders who decided to help with the Susan J. Komen Race for the Cure.
The boys’ cross country team, which recently took fifth in the state in their division, also volunteered at the Elmbrook Humane Society, helping with yard work and cleaning out storage areas.
The girls’ swim team, which volunteered at the Hunger Task Force, is looking strong for their upcoming regionals this weekend and, the following week, state championships.
This fall, other South sports teams’ community service projects and activities were:
- The boys’ volleyball and girls’ tennis teams collected can goods for the Salvation Army;
- The football team volunteered raking leaves at homes around the Waukesha South;
- The cheerleaders and the varsity Poms teams volunteered at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure;
- The boys’ soccer program collected non-perishable food items for the Food Pantry of Waukesha County;
- The girls’ golf team participated in the Crusade Fore the Cure golf event in Madison, with the money going to the Susan G. Komen fund;
- The girls’ volleyball team collected clothing items for St. Vincent de Paul; and
- The girls’ cross country team volunteered at the Hunger Task Force, helping prepare food for delivery to families.