Men's Lacrosse Team Celebrates the Holidays By Giving Back to the Community
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Members of the Navy men's lacrosse team recently visited the Stanton Community Center in the heart of Annapolis where they took part in the second-annual Christmas Math Mall, benefitting inner city children.
While the center expected roughly 35 participants, more than 60 children arrived and took part in this year's event. Every child was paired up with a Navy lacrosse player, who first sat down and made a list of who they wanted to shop for and then explored each table carefully to select Christmas gifts for those family members on their list. The donated gifts represented all age and gender groups and featured clothing, jewelry, crafts and toys to name a few. The midshipmen and children wrapped the gifts and secured them in a bag for each child to take home and share with their family on Christmas Day.
Once their shopping list had been met, many of the children had the lacrosse players read stories to them or help with their homework. Several of them asked to hear about the Naval Academy and lacrosse, while others invited the Mids to play games.
After nearly two hours at the Stanton Community Center, the lacrosse team made sure each child had their gifts in hand before leaving. However, before the team made its way back to Bancroft Hall, freshman midfielder David Jones, an Annapolis native, surprised the group by singing one of his favorite Christmas carols. Singing The Christmas Song or better known to many as Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, he was met by a rousing round of applause from his teammates and the children.
"I thought the experience was awesome," said senior midfielder Gabe Voumard. "Looking at the smiles on all of the kids' faces made it all worth it. I thought that we brightened their day and allowed them to open up a little bit more during the holiday season. I know it was a blessing for me to be there."
"Getting a chance to meet the kids was awesome," added senior defenseman Ryan Everson. "They had a lot of fun shopping for their families and we had just as much fun helping them shop and wrap their presents. This was one of the more rewarding experiences I've had off the field as a member of the team and wish I would be here next year to go back again."
In addition to volunteering their time at the Stanton Community Center, the team also participated in the 24th annual Giving Tree program at the Naval Academy. Every year midshipmen from the Naval Academy's sixth company decorate a holiday tree with paper angel ornaments provided by the Salvation Army. Each paper angel has the first name, age and gender of a child in need of presents in the local community and contributors can remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase gifts for the child or children. The lacrosse team selected three tags and replaced them with a number of gifts to make this holiday season a special one for a number of local children.
"We all had a great time at the Stanton Community Center and contributing to the Giving Tree program," said senior team captain Brendan Gaine. "It was a great way to open up the holiday season for both the children and our team alike."
### Go Navy ###