Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Wednesday, May 31, 2006
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Mules Showed Their Compassionate Side

The athletic year that began for Muhlenberg teams with a women’s soccer game on September 1 came to an end at the NCAA Track & Field Championships on Saturday. Although the Mules had two Centennial Conference championship teams, four All-Americans and nine Academic All-District selections, the most significant event took place away from the fields.

When softball senior Tara DeMarzo suffered serious injuries in an auto
men's lacrosse presentation for Tara
Members of the men’s lacrosse team present funds raised for Tara DeMarzo to Ruth Gibbs, head softball coach.
accident while returning from student teaching in November, the entire campus community – particularly the athletes – mobilized in support of Tara and her family.

In March and April, many Muhlenberg teams contributed to fundraising efforts for various activities, including a raffle, softball contest, t-shirt sale and all-campus softball tournament, that raised $8,500 for the DeMarzo family to assist Tara in her recovery.

The Mules also showed their support for those who were harmed outside their community. Six teams participated in fundraisers for the American Red Cross, raising nearly $1,500 for Hurricane Katrina relief. Much of the money came from a charity volleyball match between the football and volleyball teams.

The football team also helped raised more than $300 for the Fox Chase Cancer Center through a charity game against the field hockey team, reinforcing the notions that (1) charity work can be fun and (2) football players should stick to playing football.

The wrestling team continued its support for the American Cancer Society, pushing the total raised with its “Take Down Cancer” program even further past the $20,000 mark. Women’s lacrosse donated proceeds from a car wash to the American Red Cross.

When they weren’t raising money, Muhlenberg athletes were using their status to serve as role models for area youngsters. Men’s basketball visited Jefferson Elementary School for the “Dream to Read” program. Volleyball participated in a week-long leadership clinic at Valley Youth House. Nine women’s teams taught skills to 40
football vs. field hockey
Football fullback Keith Shalvoy tries his hand at field hockey.
inner-city Allentown girls as part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Representatives of seven teams volunteered for the Best Buddies Olympics.

Mule teams also gave free clinics, including one by men’s basketball for the Allentown Boys Club (an annual tradition) and one by men’s soccer for the Mercy Special Learning Center.

Men’s lacrosse helped beautify the neighborhood as part of the Clean & Green/Don’t Trash Allentown project. The softball team adopted a large family in December, buying, wrapping and sending six boxes of presents to West Virginia through the Christian Appalachian Christmas Project.

Independent of team activities, Muhlenberg athletes also contributed numerous hours to campus community service projects, whether it was helping low-income workers complete their tax returns, training to be hospice volunteers, running in a 5K for breast cancer research or mentoring local high school students on probation.

The beneficiaries of these programs cared little what the Mules’ won-loss record was, how many nationally ranked teams they had played or whether or not they had made the conference playoffs. The home page of Muhlenberg’s Office of Community Service includes a quote from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Many Muhlenberg athletes helped change the world around them during the 2005-06 school year.

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Last updated May 31, 2006