AHOSKIE – They continue to prove to be a success on the court and off.
For the third consecutive season, the Lady Bears of Hertford County High School have spent part of their year volunteering for organizations in their community and becoming an integral part of several organizations.
“It’s an integral part of our program,” HCHS coach Justin Frederes said. “Our focus is character, academics and athletics in that order. We stress community involvement and being active in our community.
“It’s something I believe in strongly,” he added. “If you encourage young people to make community involvement part of their lives, it will make their lives better.”
This was the third consecutive years the Lady Bears have participated in the Christmas dinner at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ahoskie. They also stocked the food pantry at the Roanoke-Chowan SAFE House for the second year. In addition, the team sponsored a cancer awareness game which sent proceeds to the V Foundation.
“There is no greater feeling than contributing to society in a positive way,” said senior Camaryn Jones. “We did three great activities this year.”
Jones said she enjoyed two of the events especially.
“Passing out gifts, serving food, along with other things truly warmed my heart,” she said of the Christmas dinner. “I honestly cannot imagine enjoying anything more than helping out the community.
“Our fundraiser for cancer means a lot to me because my grandfather passed away two years ago from lung cancer,” she added. “Contributing to cancer research makes me feel good and helps me gain perspective on life.”
Classmate Sherniece Futrell said she enjoyed the third community service project.
“When we went to turn the food into the SAFE House, I felt very happy,” she said. “I felt as though I was one of the many youth in the world making a difference in the lives of many people. As Coach Frederes says, ‘Everything you do in life is worth doing well.’ I agree with this statement because you never know what kind of impact you might have on someone’s life by showing kindness.”
Sophomore Vanessa Mitchell agreed.
“Delivering the cans to the SAFE House made me proud,” she said. “The information Ms. Askew shared with us made me realize the good our team had just done. Doing good for others is always positive in my book.”
Several other team members talked about the focus on community service they get from their coach.
“Helping the community feels great,” said sophomore Desiree James. “It makes me a better person. I would do it again anytime.”
“Helping the community is important to being a good citizens,” junior Dalisha Speight added. “I hope that we have made our community a better place. Helping people makes a better me.”
Sophomore team manager Breana Parker said she was grateful for the opportunity to be involved.
“It’s good to help people out because I know how happy a helping hand can make people,” she said. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to help others.”
Sophomore Ruby Sims was also thankful.
“Participating in various volunteer activities such as serving dinners on Christmas Day, raising money for cancer and providing food to the SAFE House of Ahoskie made me feel like a better person,” she said. “I realized that helping people and providing for them gives people a sense of security and love because they know people out there are thinking about and caring for them. I am in love with what this basketball team stands for, and the things that we do.”
Several of the team members said they were pleased to see the response from their Christmas dinner service.
“On Christmas Day, I enjoyed watching people spend time together,” sophomore Bailey Nicholas said.
“During the Christmas dinner, I had a great time helping serve food to all the people,” junior Kayla Everette stressed. “My favorite part was seeing the people’s faces as we helped out. It is always good to help someone when they are in need.”
Junior Briana Joyner said the projects were eye-openers.
“It is always good to help people who need things to get by,” she said. “Realizing the struggles that some must go through makes me thankful for everything I have.”
Frederes said he was proud of his team and was thankful for those who taught him the same lessons as a young person.
“It’s something when I was growing up, my high school program did something like this,” he said. “My family and coaches always stressed community service. I want to give that to my kids so they can pass it on to future players and students.”
His team is learning that valuable lesson.
“First I want to say it feels great to help the community out on Christmas Day,” junior Brandi Burden said. “Helping the community out shows that we care, and that the Lady Bear basketball team can set an example for the young kids in Hertford County. Most importantly, I feel great seeing the smiles on people’s faces.”