Oct. 29, 2007
Providence, RI -
By: Han Cui, Brown Daily Herald
Don't be surprised if you see people running down Benefit, Wickenden and Ives streets on Sunday (10/21/07) - and don't be surprised if you also see men's lacrosse players at the checkpoints along the course. Though it is the off-season for the lacrosse team, the players are doing more than just practicing and relaxing. This is a busy time for the Bears, not just in terms of competition on the field, but in terms of volunteering for educational causes in the local community.
The Bears will be volunteering at the second Volunteers in Providence Schools City Kids Half-Marathon Road Race and Relay this Sunday. The race supports VIPS, a non-profit organization providing educational programs for students in all Providence public schools. Founded in 1963, VIPS is the largest and oldest organization in Rhode Island that deals directly with public schools.
"The purpose of the race is to raise awareness for the volunteers' work in public schools, show people the pride of the public schools, and attract more people to be involved in the program, which will benefit more students," said Rachel Colaiace, special events coordinator at VIPS.
This is the second year VIP is holding the race. The lacrosse team also volunteered for the event last year.
"When we were organizing the race, we immediately thought of Brown athletics, who have worked with us in past events," Colaice said. "They care and just know about the importance of our program. So when I called (Head) Coach (Lars) Tiffany about the race, he was very supportive of it."
Like they did last year, the Bears will be manning water stations in front of the public schools along the race. They will also help out with road closure and crossings.
"In the survey we conducted from last year's race, the lacrosse players were very popular, and we are very happy to have them back again," Colaice said.
The team has a history of involvement in community service. Last year, the team helped to raise money to build a school in Sri Lanka. Every year during the off-season, the team comes together to discuss future projects.
"It's our team's belief that nothing is more powerful than education," Tiffany said. "Anything we can do to promote this cause, be it money or time, is all worth it."
Following Tiffany's example, the players are enthusiastic about volunteering at events like the race.
"We are all happy to commit to this program," said Jordan Burke '09. "Right now we are in off-season, and this is the time where we can make a difference. As a team, we can do a lot more."
Assistant Coach Jon Thompson will be a runner in the 13.1 mile race, and the players are excited to cheer him on.
"To play sports at Brown, there is an inevitable schedule block," said Mike Cummins '08, who is the student leader for this event. "All the players are happy the coaches organized activities like these for the team. As soon as you get out there, you become attached to it."
According to Tiffany, the team looks forward to continuing its tradition of community involvement. "It's enjoyable to lead a group of 40 guys and wrap our arms around events like this," he said. "Once you start doing it, it becomes infectious. There is a real sense of reward."
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