Basketball players form relationships off the court

Stephanie Sansoucy

Appalachian State University women’s basketball team finished a three-month tutoring project with Hardin Park middle school students Oct. 30.

Members of the team rotated weeks of tutoring, where they helped approximately 35 children at the Perkinsville Tutoring Ministry held at Perkinsville Baptist Church on their off days.

With basketball season starting, the team has wrapped up scheduled tutoring, but head coach Darcie Vincent said she hopes to continue the relationship the team has created with Hardin Park Elementary students.

Retired school teacher and volunteer coordinator of the tutoring ministry Anna McGuire said it was an honor to have the team come out to mentor the students.

“We appreciate these girls more than we could ever say for so many reasons,” McGuire said. “They were just great role models.”

Junior guard Katie Mallow said this service project was different than past service projects with the team because they made multiple visits and were able to form relationships with some kids of the program.

“There were three or four kids that if we missed a week, they were asking for us,” Mallow said.

Vincent said that the kids were not the only ones that benefitted from tutoring, but that her players did too.

Freshman forward Amber Doniere said that as an education major, interacting with the kids was a good experience for her.

“Everything that you learn in education classes comes into play,” she said.

Doniere said that she enjoyed watching the students improve week to week.

“To sit back and watch them in their environment and to see how they interact is a wonderful experience as a whole,” Vincent said.

Though organized tutoring has wrapped up, Vincent said that her players have formed a lasting impression on the kids, and hopes to continue tutoring and mentoring in the future.

McGuire said her favorite part of the process was seeing this mentoring relationship grow.

“One of my favorite things to see was them interacting and mentoring the kids,” McGuire said. “I think half of tutoring is having a mentor who cares about you and who will be there for you.”

Students of the program will attend the women’s Friday game against Lees-McRae, and Vincent also said that some kids had already been to some of the team’s practices.

“It was an overwhelmingly great experience,” Vincent said. “[The kids] have a good relationship to mentor to look up to.”

Story: NICOLE BELLAMY, Intern News Reporter