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King University Student-athletes Make a Difference in After-school Programs

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 27, 2017 – Each school year, student-athletes spend time giving back to the community in which they call home while at King University; specifically, they give back to area youth.

Three times per week throughout the semester, King student-athletes visit two elementary schools, Highland View Elementary School and Washington-Lee Elementary School, and one middle school, Vance Middle School. The student-athletes also spend time with the TechGYRLS at Bristol’s YWCA. TechGYRLS was developed by the YWCA USA to address the still-evident and significant gender gap in girls’ development of interest and skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“I’m extremely proud of our student-athletes for their willingness to give back and serve those in the community,” said David Hicks, athletic director at King. “The time demands on students athletes – both academic and athletic – are significant, and for them to take the time to give back speaks volumes of their character and values.”

King University-centered athletic opportunities include participation in one of 25 intercollegiate varsity sports. All King student athletes are encouraged to participate in mission and service opportunities, and collectively served well over 1,000 hours in the Bristol community this year.

One such opportunity came during the spring 2017 semester. Members of King’s swim and dive team traveled to Washington-Lee Elementary to interact with a number of students in the after-school program. The students from Washington-Lee were excited to spend time playing basketball with college athletes.

Holly Rolen is a 1998 King College graduate. She currently serves as a reading specialist and after-school coordinator for Washington & Lee Elementary. “The after-school program at Washington-Lee meets academic, social, and emotional needs of our students,” said Rolen. “They are able to receive help with homework and extra academic support they might not be able to receive at home. They have a safe place to spend time with friends and people from the community learning internet safety, teamwork, cooperation, and problem-solving. The King [University] athletes play an integral part in the program as they volunteer in various capacities. They have worked with students in technology club as students learn basic coding skills. They have helped students build a school-community garden. And they have played with the students in fitness activities. Their interactions are teaching our student’s communication skills along with the various activity-related skills. The athletes also have the opportunity to encourage our students to reach toward goals for future education, and perhaps, playing sports to help them afford college. The hour of time spent with our students each week is invaluable.”

“As a coach, I am thrilled that the King student-athletes are able to do meaningful service work in our community,” said Jordan Schrotenboer, head coach for swimming and diving at King. “Most children admire college student-athletes and are very receptive to the example they present. The after-school visits give our student-athletes a chance to be a positive role model outside of athletics and outside their normal sphere of influence. My hope is that our student-athletes can be a positive influence on these younger students while becoming better people themselves.”

King freshman and Cancun, Mexico native Juan Somoza said of his experience at Washington-Lee, “Working with kids was an enjoyable experience - watching different personalities, helping them with their problems that I once struggled with. It is a satisfying way to spend the afternoon.”

Several times throughout the academic year, Tornado student-athletes also spent time at the YWCA with the TechGYRLS program. Katy Stigers, a 2002 graduate of King College and member of King’s Athletic Hall of Fame, is the YWCA development and communications administrator. She remarked, “We appreciate the wonderful opportunity our girls have to be involved with great role models from our local colleges and universities, including King. For example, the TechGYRLS got to meet student-athletes who competed in the Olympic trials! It is such a unique and inspirational opportunity. These partnerships will help the TechGYRLS keep their goals high. We also hope the student-athletes can see themselves as leaders by spending time with the girls and seeing how much the TechGYRLS admire them.”

If you are interested in having King student-athletes contribute to any volunteer or community service initiative, contact Nancye Rahn, assistant athletic director for external affairs at nrahn@king.edu. Also, visit www.kingtornado.com for all things athletic at King University.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.