For the past three years, Davenport University's baseball team has paid a visit to Vista Charter Academy students to work with small groups of students and engage in an interactive activity. The Davenport players visit the school in the months leading up to their baseball season, spending time with Vista’s younger students, with a focus on giving back to their community.
A group of 40 team members came to the school decked out in their travel gear to visit Young 5s through eighth-grade classrooms across the school. Davenport’s head coach believes that community service is as good for his players as it is for the people they are serving. The team participated in a variety of projects throughout the year and has partnered with Vista for the past several years.
“Having players from Davenport visit is a crucial experience for our students. It lets them engage with individuals who are not only successful in their sport but also in their academics by continuing to strive to achieve greatness,” said Kara Tidey, Young 5s Teacher at Vista Charter Academy. “It allows them to connect with individuals who share similar life experiences and enables our students to relate to adults on a different level. It also gives them positive role models to help shape their future for success.”
Tidey shared younger students benefit from the visit by focusing on planting seeds about college aspirations and hard work, while also building relationships through various activities, including interviews, team building, reading, games, and play. The experience provides students the opportunity to witness first-hand the things that young men are doing, working hard academically and in athletics to reach their goals.
The older students’ activities range from team-building activities to question-and-answer sessions revolving around college athletics and what it is like to be a college student. The players shared what their days entail, from attending classes and practice to participating in community service.
In one Young5s classroom, players visited with students for an hour. During that time, students practiced a role-playing activity in which they took pretend food orders, delivered food, and exchanged money. In a second-grade classroom, students enjoyed playing an academic-focused game of baseball.
“The younger students were amazed at how big the players are and really listened to their every word when they were reading or answering questions,” said Tidey. She also shared that Vista’s older students took away insight from the team and what it takes to be successful on and off the field.