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Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) women’s basketball Waxahachie Boys & Girls Club

Over the summer head coach Tiffany Phillips was talking with Captain Frankie Zuniga of the Salvation Army .  Phillips thought volunteering would be a perfect opportunity for her players to work one on one with the kids.  Every Thursday this fall four girls from the basketball team makes the trip to the Boys & Girls Club .

“It has been such a blessing to our ladies to be able to pour into these children’s lives,” remarks Phillips, “We have learned so much from this experience and it has truly helped us as much or more than it has helped the kids and staff at the Boys & Girls club.”

Senior Charity Page has looked forward to each time she has been able to visit, “It didn’t feel much like community service at all. It was more of an opportunity to reach out and influence kids who in the end, end up influencing us. They are filled with so much joy and pure enthusiasm that it can’t help but brighten your day.”

Every visit is different.  Sometimes the children need help with homework.  On some visits they play games or work on art projects.  One of the most successful visits has been when SAGU hosted a basketball skills clinic for the girls who wanted to learn more about basketball, “Turns out that nearly every girl there wanted to participate and it was a huge hit. Even some of the boys wanted to get in on the action,” says Phillips.

The basketball clinic has taken on a life of its own.  Captain Frankie Zuniga, with the Salvation Army, says that the Lady Lions have single handedly sparked interest in the game of basketball for many of the kids, “With this partnership we have seen excitement from the girls in regards to wanting to play basketball now. We see them excited in not just sitting in the gym and hanging out but now rushing for the basketballs so they too can play.   They love every moment of their time with the team, in fact, there have been many times where a girl would be picked up early and wouldn’t want to leave.”

With the success of the basketball clinic, the Salvation Army is brainstorming other ways for sports teams to get involved.  “This new initiative sparked life into our program and interest in looking to see how we could use other groups in this same way in the future; and it was exciting to see the relationships amongst the players and the club members change and grow as they continued from week to week,” explains Captain Zuniga.

As the basketball season is now underway, the visits have changed a bit.  Instead of being on Thursday (game day), they will be visiting on Monday’s.  Despite this being an extremely busy time for a college athlete, they don’t want to give up the opportunity to serve.

And for the Boys & Girls Club, they don’t want to give up time with some of their most inspiring volunteers, “Our kids are excited every time the players walk thru the door.  The players give the kids an opportunity to see what possibilities there are in the future of not just learning a skill like basketball but also the possibility of educational opportunities.”

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

Contact: Natalie Tristan, SAGU SID, [email protected]

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