Mount Olive, N.C. --- As the fall semester wanes, it is typical to look back on the achievements of teams and student-athletes at the University of Mount Olive. The Trojans have not only been successful in the classroom and the field of play, but also in giving back to the community. Below is a list of some of the initiatives UMO student-athletes, teams, and administration have participated in during the fall semester.
The Trojans helped out in a wide-variety of ways assisting organizations from churches to youth sports leagues, support organizations, etc. One of the highest participated efforts this semester involved helping the First Methodist Church of Mount Olive prepare for its annual pumpkin sale. The Trojans' men's lacrosse, men's volleyball, and men's and women's cross country and track and field teams aided the church in unloading nearly 2,000 pumpkins and aligning them for the sale, as well as maintaining the sale.
Many teams operated free clinics or workshops for local youth in the community. UMO's men's basketball team conducted a free workout for local children that featured Trojan players and coaches running kids through drills and instructing them on basketball fundamentals. The Trojans' baseball team put on a free baseball clinic at Daughtry Field in Mount Olive that provided workshop activities for youth in Wayne County and surrounding counties. UMO's men's and women's tennis teams held a clinic and tournament at Walnut Creek Country Club, helping youth in the community learn the game and improve their tennis skills. The Trojans' men's soccer team conducted a free clinic for Upward soccer teams in Wayne County and hosted the players for Upward Soccer Day when the Trojans hosted Emmanuel. Upward soccer players from the community walked out during introductions with players from both universities and experienced pregame and halftime festivities at Amon Field. The UMO cheer team helped cheerleaders at E.E. Smith Middle School with a clinic and choreography stunt and jump sequence.
With Hurricane Matthew impacting the community in early October, Trojan student-athletes and teams lent a helping hand. The Trojans' cheer team volunteered during relief efforts, donating gift cards, food, and clothes to Carver Elementary School in Mount Olive. UMO's softball team delivered and served food to members of Team Rubicon, a group of veterans stationed in Goldsboro, who came to the area to assist with disaster relief. UMO Softball also donated over 100 cans of non-perishable food items to the Make a Difference Food Pantry. The Trojans also spent the day preparing and serving lunch and dinner for victims of Hurricane Matthew, as well as preparing food for the Senior Mobile Pantry that delivers food to several senior homes in the area. Along with the softball team, UMO men's soccer helped restock shelves and pass out food at the Make a Difference Food Pantry in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
Many student-athletes also impacted the university community through a variety of efforts. The UMO softball team assisted with running the Trojan Trot 5k race on campus as course monitors and timers. Furthermore, softball student-athletes volunteered their time to help light luminaries around campus for Christmas by Candlelight.
Trojan teams and student-athletes did not just help youth in the community. The UMO women's basketball team volunteered at the Mount Olive Center, a local retirement home, visiting with residents, playing games, and sharing stories. The Trojans' cheer team spent time at Warsaw Health and Rehab during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons spreading holiday cheer and visiting with residents. Members of the athletic staff and administration participated in building a house for Habitat for Humanity, lending their time and talents to help construct a house. The Trojans' baseball team planted shrubs and cleaned garden areas in a city park in Calypso, along with assembling and constructing a new playground at the park.
Expanding beyond just the local community, UMO's men's and women's tennis teams participated in a fundraiser for the Kory Wawanaca Children's Home in La Paz, Bolivia. The Kory Wawanaca Children's Home is a home for abandoned and orphaned children in Bolivia that provides children in need a safe and healthy environment including education and spiritual growth. The Trojans helped with a fundraiser held at the Wayne County Fairgrounds that featured a concert and local Bolivian merchandise with profits going to the Children's Home. Trojan student-athletes helped park cars at the fundraiser.
Joining nation-wide initiatives, the UMO women's basketball team conducted an aluminum can drive as a fundraiser for the Play 4 Kay foundation. The team was able to bring in cans by the trailer full to help support the cause. Both the UMO softball team and the Trojans' athletic staff participated in donating and collecting toys for Toys-for-Tots to provide children in the community and around the nation with a present for the holidays.
As the winter season approached, the UMO men's basketball team helped organize winter coats to give away to the community and those in need of warm clothes for the winter months.
Mount Olive student-athletes, staff, and administrators were active during the fall semester and the Trojans have plenty more initiatives and outreach activities planned for the spring semester.