Excellence in competition, in the classroom and in the community is something that Mount Ida student-athletes don’t just strive for—they achieve it regularly. And in terms of giving back to the community, that has certainly been evident in various events and activities that the Mustangs have participated in during the holiday season.
Under the direction of advisor and Head Women’s Soccer Coach Brigi Palatino, members of the Mount Ida Student-Athlete Advisory Committee spent an evening inside of the College’s Athletic Center in late November crafting blankets that were donated to Project Linus, an organization whose missions is to provide security and warmth to children who are seriously ill, traumatized and in need by making and providing blankets. Inspired by the blanket toted by the famous “Peanuts” character, Project Linus distributes all blankets collected to nearby hospitals, shelters and social service agencies to children in need.
Senior volleyball captain Mary Kate Reidy (Agawam, Mass./Agawam), who serves as President of the Mustang SAAC, said that this year’s efforts on behalf of Project Linus were the most successful yet in the three years that Mount Ida has participated.
“We had nearly 75 students come and help make blankets this year, and it’s amazing to see how far this program has come from when we first started,” Reidy said. “The best part of the Project Linus campaign is seeing students come together to help children find safety and comfort. It’s our responsibility as members of the community to give back and make it a better place to live, and I think we’ve done exactly that. I can’t wait to see how this program continues to grow in the future.”
Providing warmth in the cold winter months ahead was also the goal of the Mount Ida men’s lacrosse team, which collected nearly 40 winter coats in support of the College’s Center for Community Engagement’s Holiday Coat Drive.
Head Coach Andrew Fink and men’s lacrosse student-athletes joined the Mount Ida community in donating the items directly to the Center, which will assist in distributing the items to various groups in the area during the holiday season.
“Our players know the importance of giving back and being strong members of the community as a whole, and we are proud to be a part of this outreach,” Fink said of his team’s efforts.
Additionally, the Mustang softball team spread holiday cheer to Next Steps Healthcare in West Newton, as student-athletes created and delivered holiday cards for each of the center’s 86 residents prior to the start of final exams. Veteran Mount Ida Head Coach Katie Zuman said that the reaction of the center’s staff was one of great warmth: “That is the sweetest thing I’ve received during the holiday season—it will make their day!”
Community service is an important aspect of the total student-athlete experience at the College, and it is not limited to events around the holidays. Mount Ida Executive Director of Athletics Matt Burke knows how valuable these activities and lessons are in the overall scope of the educational experience.
“Being active members of the campus and local communities is something that our student-athletes place high value and emphasis on, and I am incredibly pleased that tradition has been enhanced during this holiday season,” Burke said. “I’m very proud of the entire Mustang athletics family for providing positive examples to emulate each and every day.”