In December of 2016, the SAGU women’s basketball team visited Palmer Elementary to gift 17 students with Christmas blessing boxes. Christmas presents weren’t the only things the Lady Lions gave. They also helped with the “Fall in Love with a Good Book” campaign and distributed nearly 500 books.

“Palmer Elementary was very excited about the possibility of us working together and wanted us to help with their reading initiative,” explains SAGU head coach Tiffany Phillips.

The reading initiative took of,f and the Lady Lions, with the help of the campaign, were able to pass out more books than they could have imagined. The athletes were able to give out exactly 483 books, one for each child in the elementary. The books were purchased by Palmer Independent School District (ISD).

Once all the books were handed out, the Lady Lions spent time reading one-on-one with students. For Palmer Principal Allyson Spurgeon, this experience meant a great deal to the kids. “It was a wonderful experience for PES to have the SAGU Lady Lions come and not only read stories but talk about what it means to be a collegiate athlete,” Spurgeon said. “I heard many conversations about character, generosity and integrity. The girls had our students engaged in meaningful talk and activities that left our students wanting them to stay.”

In addition, Athletic Director Jesse Godding said, “Being a coach you get to see some pretty amazing things but watching the young ladies interact with these children was pretty high up there.”

On top of the book campaign and the blessing boxes, SAGU was able to help a family that lost their home in a fire. The home was of a pre-k student who received one of the blessing boxes. The Lady Lions helped provide gift cards and clothes for the family and the Palmer community raised over $7,000 for the family.