COLUMBIA, S.C. — November 10-18, 2012 is National Hunger & Homeless (H&H) Awareness week and this week is important because each year, 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Benedict College women’s basketball team took time to consider what they’re thankful for and donate some of their time and attention to those less fortunate.
Columbia television station WACH FOX news was in attendance as the women’s basketball team spent time at Transitions on Sunday. They were able to capture footage and pictures of the Benedict College women’s basketball team providing their services.
Sophomore guard Genesis Montilla was interviewed about the team’s experience of engaging in community services. “Seeing the look on people’s faces and how happy they were to have a cook meal was a great feeling to experience. You never know when you are going to get put in that position. So we just want to help out. You do not really get a lot of people who want to help. We just want to give back because we might need them,” Montilla said.
Bringing attention to the national disgrace of homeless is something for which the team is proud of. Participation in H&H week helped build the team’s community and leadership skills, while fostering a greater understanding and solidarity among their peers.
Transitions is based on public-private partnerships, who receive support from the local governments of Richland County, Lexington County, the City of West Columbia and the City of Columbia. Other major supporters to date include the United Way of the Midlands, City Center Partnership, the Kresge Foundation, and the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Emergency Shelter Grant). Transitions house over 200 people per night in various programs. A day center is available for approximately 100-125 people daily, which engages people who are on the street into services by meeting basic needs like showers, laundry, meals, mail and clothing. Comprehensive services are provided to support clients as they achieve independence, including assertive community outreach, assessment, case management, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, health care, employment counseling and placement, and housing placement.
The women’s basketball team will continue to work hard this season in the community and outreach endeavors to contribute towards the Citizenship Award for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C). The Benedict College Student Athlete Advisory Committee, guided by Ms. Loraine Dunbar, is a NCAA mandated committee that is made up of student-athletes from each of the school’s sponsored sports. Student-athletes from around the South Intercollegiate Association Conference (SIAC), through their S.A.A.C programs, compete all year long to acquire points by completing community service projects and other initiatives on campus and community. The women’s basketball 2012-2013 S.A.A.C representatives are senior Monique Weathers and freshman Maya Nelson