Softball Bonds Through Helping the Homeless
Oct. 20, 2010
HOUSTON - The University of Houston softball team gathered together without the request of coaches or administration to spend the afternoon making blankets to give to the homeless on Thursday.
Junior Jennifer Klinkert passed the idea along to the team after her church (University Heights Baptist Church) began passing out necessities to the homeless every third Friday of each month near the St. Joseph Professional Building on I-45. With winter approaching, the need for blankets has increased. Knowing that she had a team full of willing friends, she had an idea.
"I know around Christmas time they are out there with absolutely nothing - sometimes not even with clothes on their backs," Klinkert said. "There is always a shortage of blankets; there's even fights over them sometimes. I had the idea that we could get together as a team and make blankets. Even if it's just a few it's better than none. We have a great team, and we love doing community service like this, so I knew I would have the hands and bodies to do it."
Earlier this week, the Cougars implemented a Little Sister/Big Sister program amongst members of the team. The idea is to pair an underclassmen with an upperclassmen in an effort to build team chemistry as UH welcomes six newcomers to this year's roster.
"We just started this because we thought it would be a good idea to help everyone on the team get to know each other better," senior Baillie Lott said. "It helps the seniors get to know the freshmen better and vice versa. It's going to help a lot, and we're going to be a tighter team because of it."
Klinkert's blanket-making idea proved to be a perfect task for the Little Sister/Big Sister program, as each pair worked together cutting and tying fabric to make new fleece blankets.
"We like helping other people, and this is fun for us," freshman Stesha Brazil said. "All day we've actually been really excited about making blankets. This is something we look forward to."
Lott discussed how much playing the fall schedule helped the team's bonding process and how projects like this for Little Sister/Big Sister program just strengthens the team even further.
Fellow senior Katy Beth Sherman agreed.
"Community service is a big part of this program," Sherman said. "We're very family oriented, and this team is a big family as well. We really like helping out and giving back. We have so many fans that come out from around the community to watch us. We like to be able to support them, too."
On Thursday, the Cougars made nine, double-layered blankets for Klinkert and the members of her church to hand out to those less fortunate during their next visit.
"It's honestly really touching," Klinkert said. "You think that you're going to go there and help somebody, and they end up changing your life."