Giving back: Women's Basketball dishes an assist to Safety City

You’re never too young to learn the ABCs of safety. A group of Heidelberg student-athletes had a role in making sure local little ones get off on the right foot in learning the importance of road and fire safety.

The Tiffin Police Department and the Tiffin Fire/Rescue Division annually conduct Safety City – a structured program to teach children entering kindergarten basic safety rules on their level.

This year, the Lincoln Pre-K School gymnasium was transformed into a miniature city for the weeklong Safety City for kiddos in Tiffin City and Calvert schools. It was quite a process to set up Safety City, and that’s where Heidelberg’s Women’s Basketball Team entered the picture.

Women's Basketball volunteers for Safety City
Navia Smith and Maciaha Irving work to set up
Safety City

The team joined a corps of volunteers that included Mayor Dawn Iannantuono in gathering materials and loading two pickups and a trailer with the components of Safety City and helping deliver them to Lincoln Pre-K. Once there, they unloaded the supplies and taped street markings, installed traffic signs and helped to construct mini buildings. They handled their assignments efficiently; what formerly took about six hours took just two hours this year, says Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Erin Eaton, who accompanied the eight members of the team.

They were happy to spend part of a Sunday afternoon giving back to the community, even taking a spin on the Safety City tricycles.
“Our student-athletes had a lot of fun learning what Safety City was, and we just pitched in wherever they needed us,” Erin says. 

For one of the ‘Berg basketball players, the volunteer exercise was right up her alley. Team Captain Hallie Rogers, a junior primary education major from Hagerstown, Indiana, was thrilled to be able to have a hand in an activity that will benefit young students. 

“I love that they do something like this for students to learn about safety but also make it fun,” Hallie said. “Being able to be a part of something like this is so important because many schools don’t have access to it. I also loved seeing it come together at the end. That was amazing!”

Coaches and student-athletes say there are multiple benefits – now and in the future to engaging with the community. 

“It is important for student-athletes to get out in the community because it allows us to be seen as more than athletes,” Hallie says. “As an athlete, you see all of the community standing behind you at each game. Therefore, we should be giving back in return. Since I am not from around the area, I love the idea of learning more about Tiffin. Tiffin has been my home for three years, so embracing the events they do is so fun. I love to see all the different activities they do for young children. I think it is important for all students to get out and serve the town you live in, not just student-athletes.

Erin adds that volunteering now sets an important standard for student-athletes’ post-graduation years. “If student-athletes are involved in service, I believe they’re more apt to give back later in life. It sets a standard for how they can grow their roots once they leave the Berg,” she says.

When Safety City concluded last Friday, Heidelberg’s Wrestling Team and members of the Excelsior Men’s Society helped to tear down Safety City until next year rolls around. ‘Berg student-athletes have volunteered for Safety City for a number of years.

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