Quitman high school athletics is utilizing off-season time to teach kids the importance of community service.
Quitman ISD Athletic Director Bryan Oakes said the athletic department has established groups within the off-season program to promote competition, including in the realm of community service.
“Unlike most athletic programs, we incorporate a wide array things in our competition, one being community service. Our guys constantly have opportunities to increase points for their teams by volunteering for these,” Oakes said. “This particular activity served in two ways: who did the best and how many were willing to work on it. The reason we promote community service acts is, first the importance of giving back to a community that supports you as an athlete, secondly to establish a culture that promotes servant leadership.”
For the service aspect, groups teamed up to decorate three Wesley House residents’ doors.
A former member of the athletic training department and current Wesley House employee Justina Daliva told the coaching staff about the opportunity to decorate doors.
“She knows that our coaching staff is always looking for community service projects to get our kids involved in and asked if we would like to participate,” Oakes said.
Other volunteer activities include ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, the football team eating dinner at the Wesley House earlier this year, and helping a homeowner’s association clear a dam at Clear Lakes last year, he added.
“We understand that sports are important; however, they are not what defines you and for most end after high school,” he said. “With this in mind, we want to build a culture around core values that will carry you in life. When this becomes who you are, you will be successful in whatever it is that you choose, sports included.”
Tammy Purdy, Wesley House executive director, said the residents enjoy seeing their doors decorated for the holidays.
“They love it. They get so excited about it,” Purdy said. “They sit there and watch the kids. They get really excited about getting their doors done.”
James “T-Bone” Ponder’s door featured Santa’s reindeer, Margaret “Margo” Cobb’s door was decorated with a snowman and Betty Dickerson’s door showed Santa and an elf. The doors were judged for first, second and third places. Ponder’s door came in first, Cobb’s second, and Dickerson’s third.
The public is welcome to see the decorations. Families and friends of residents and staff will also decorate the other doors during the holiday season.