Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

In the ‘GAME’

Several student groups at Georgetown tutor disadvantaged children in the Washington, D.C., area, but there is a program for Georgetown athletes that has a purpose beyond tutoring.

Capitalizing on the admiration children often naturally have for athletes, Georgetown Athletes Mentoring Enterprise places varsity athletes in schools and after-school programs across the District to set a positive example for kids in need of guidance and inspiration. According to its participants, the program exposes children to the possibilities of what they can achieve if they stay in school and work hard.

Patricia Thomas, one of the founders of GAME, says that the idea of the program is to give the young sports fan a chance to meet real athletes while giving Georgetown athletes an opportunity to get to know their admirers and the people they influence. At the same time, the program exposes Georgetown athletics to the larger community.

Varsity cross country and track runner Kim Malcolm (MSB ’06), who has participated in GAME since her freshman year, confirms the impact that the athletes can have. “GAME is a great opportunity for Georgetown athletes to encourage kids in the D.C. area to stay involved in their schoolwork,” she says. “By reading and spending time together, we try to inspire the kids to seek higher education and reach their potential.”

Since its inception in 1997, a total of 200 Georgetown athletes representing every sport played on campus have reached out to children at over 50 elementary and junior high schools. Participants say that the program has been a great success, and visits from Georgetown athletes are in high demand.

Each visit is different. When the athletes go to schools, “the activities are determined by the needs of the school,” Malcolm says. Activities range from tutoring, to playing sports, to giving inspirational speeches to just being a friend to someone who might not otherwise have anyone to talk to.

Malcolm adds that on most visits, it’s difficult for the mentors to leave because so many kids are jumping all over them to give them hugs.

Athletes have visited the children at Community Lodgings, a community center in Virginia, for three years, and after-school program assistant Mercy Arias has witnessed the program’s success.

According to Arias, Georgetown students don’t just tutor. They serve the more important function of setting a positive example for children.

“They go to college, they practice sports and they’re active, and so they’re able to give kids an example and a model to aspire to that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to and wouldn’t otherwise have,” she says.

In this sense the athletes’ presence, as well as their ability to encourage and connect with children in a unique way, makes the program valuable and effective.

The athletes participating in GAME say that they enjoy giving back to the community, too.

“The most rewarding aspect of working with children in GAME is seeing the child you are working with begin to develop more of an understanding of the material you are assisting him or her with, and eventually excelling at it,” says Ashley Lancaster (COL ’06), a varsity volleyball player.

Malcolm adds that it’s difficult for the mentors to leave because so many kids are jumping all over them to give them hugs.

For varsity soccer player Daniel Gargan (MSB ’05), “It’s rewarding to give younger kids something to shoot for, and to help them along with their goals. . I think it means a lot to younger kids, and I would encourage all Georgetown athletes to get involved if they can, because I know they all can remember a time when an older kid reached out to them in some way, and how special and exciting it was.”

This is the spirit of GAME. Athletes, remembering how someone inspired them or made a difference in their lives, go out and return the favor.

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