Soccer continues to make difference as volunteers at Parkview Elementary
Sep 07, 2012
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the past two years, the Tennessee
Tech soccer team has been heavily involved and dedicated in the
Cookeville community, working at a number of events and providing
several volunteer efforts toward community service.
One of those has been the continued involvement at Parkview
Elementary School. Since the arrival of third-year head coach
Daniel Brizard, the Golden Eagles have made a special commitment to
Parkview. Tech soccer players visit the school several times a week
during the preseason, then spend several hours in their assigned
classrooms each week for the remainder of the school year.
"We decided to go and help lon- term because I felt that it was
too easy to just go and read for a period or have lunch with the
kids," said Brizard. "Don't get me wrong, I think that's great and
really makes a difference. But I feel in order to affect lives, you
need to do it on a regular basis and get to know the kids."
The soccer team's service at Parkview, which is in its third
straight year, has provided a great deal of help for the teachers
and other faculty at the elementary school. Tasks range anywhere
from grading papers and making cutouts for projects to listening to
the children while they read and assist them in learning
No matter what the task, the Golden Eagles know that what they
do is invaluable to the teachers and that is what makes the service
so much easier.
"I think it's made a big impact on the school and they love
having us," said senior forward Andrea Meloff. "They always have
stuff ready for us to do when we come in and they always love to
see us. When we walk in the doors, all of the kids get really
excited. The teachers love it because it makes their lives a little
easier every day."
"Even when they just go and help the teachers it has an impact,"
said Brizard. "The teachers need as much help as they can get
nowadays as far the kids, the workload, and the resources they are
not given go."
The volunteer work doesn't just have an effect on the teachers
though. The girls provide a strong impact on the student's lives.
Over the previous three years, the girls have landed a special
place in the hearts of the students, so much so that more than
once, the children will inquire as to where the girls are during
the lunch hour.
"Some of our girls go into the classrooms now," said Brizard,
"and the kids will run up and give them hugs because they know who
they are. I think that creates a special bond and something just at
a different level then going once or twice."
Prior to the start of their own academic year, the team travels
to Parkview as a unit for an introduction and their first service
sessions. When Tech is in session, the players settle into an
individual schedule of when they spend their time at the elementary
Even the school's principal, Bobby Winningham, has taken notice
of the impact that the girls make on his school. He realizes that
the continued efforts of the Golden Eagles have paid dividends and
that the girls have made an invaluable difference to the children
“For our students, the girls do a wonderful job,”
said Winningham. “They provide us a very valuable service by
coming over here and helping out. Both our students and teachers
look forward to the days they come in. They have meant a lot to us
these past few years and it’s nice to have them always come
in with smiling faces. I can honestly say we would be lacking if
they weren’t here to help us as it frees us up to do other
things for the school and students.”
"I think the results have been fantastic and I believe we have a
great group of positive role models," said Brizard. "If we can get
in there over the course of one semester and help even just one kid
read better or do math better, then I feel we have made a
difference. That kind of impact just takes a long-term approach and
that's why we decided to make this an ongoing event for the