BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State student-athletes pride themselves in giving back to the community of Boone since they are endlessly devoted to the success of the university and its athletic programs.
This past year (May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019), the Mountaineers completed more than 10,474 hours of community service – the most community service hours ever recorded by App State Athletics. These hours include anything from going into elementary school classrooms and reading to students to going on a mission trip with a group of student-athletes through a local church.
“It’s very inspiring to see that you all as student-athletes are able to go out into a community that has embraced you from an athletics standpoint to where you all go out and embrace them from a community standpoint,” said Director of Student-Athlete Development Pierre Banks, a former Mountaineer football player himself. “I always tell people that none of us got to where we are by pulling up our own bootstraps, so to see the athletics department and the community combine in such a way that we can uplift each other is absolutely incredible.”
This year the student-athletes found many different ways to get involved in the community. Several Mountaineer volunteered for a mentoring program for elementary students through the Western Youth Network. Others helped with food drives with the Hunger and Health Coalition, freshman move-in and Habitat for Humanity. Some student-athletes went on hospital visits, met with local Veterans of Foreign Wars groups and helped elementary schools for Mornings with the Mountaineers. Teams participated in Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse, Laps for APPS and walking in local holiday parades. Those are just a few of the ways the Mountaineers gave back in 2018-19.
Each year the athletics department determines which team has the most community service hours by taking the total number of hours and players on each team and calculating an average number of hours per student-athlete.
The top team in 2018-19 was women’s soccer with 1,683 hours and an average of 58.06 hours per student-athlete.
“The community of Boone has played such an integral role in supporting our team and athletics as a whole,” women’s soccer junior Kristin Brown said. “I may be biased, but I’d say that Boone is home to the greatest fans around. The depth of their support is experienced not only in the stands on game days, but throughout the community itself. As an athlete, this support is incredibly appreciated and makes you want to give back as much as possible. It is an honor to serve such an awesome community.”
Women’s cross country came in second with 1,422 hours while averaging 56.89 hours per student-athlete.
“Being an athlete at Appalachian State and having the support that we do from the community and people surrounding us means so much,” freshman cross country runner Kylee Frady said. “I believe that the close-knit community that we have in Boone makes for App State Athletics feeling like our own little family within our college town. I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have being an athlete at Appalachian, and I don’t think it’d be possible without those who support us.”
In third was baseball with 1,381 hours averaging 12.22 hours per student-athlete.
“I would say it truly feels like a family,” baseball senior Kaleb Bowman said. “Families support one another through the good and bad, and that is what is so great about the community of Boone. They support us no matter what happens, so it really means a lot to be able to give back to them.”
“Being a part of the Appalachian State family means so much to me,” junior wrestler Christian Beach said. “I have been given such an amazing opportunity that has made me a better student, athlete and person. It is such an honor to be able to give back to the Boone community after Appalachian has given so much to me. I consider Boone my home, and giving back to my community is just amazing!”