Student athletes give Crittenton Centers a makeover

By Alyssa Donovan

March 24, 2013 Updated Mar 24, 2013 at 10:35 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill.-- A group of 15 athletes is taking its team skills off the diamond and using them to make a difference in the community.

The varsity softball team of Glenbrook South High School has been volunteering with the Crittenton Center for the past 4 years.

Senior Madeline Hauser says the tradition has become a sort of season kick-off for the team.

Hauser said, "Last year we came down here and built benches and the team before that built a gazebo outside."

This years project was a break room makeover.

Crittenton Centers Special Events Coordinator Jennifer Simmons says her volunteers need a safe place to kick back and relax.

Simmons said, “You know they are servicing at risk families. And what a wonderful thing that the community has rallied around us to bring that to our employees."

Hauser says not only does it feel great to give back to the community, but the experience helps her team bond.

Hauser said, “It really teaches how to work together. I mean some of us are rebuilding tables and sanding walls and painting walls... You can't do that alone. You have to rely on somebody else too. So it's really good it really helps on and off the field."

And her teammates agree.

Glenbrook High School Senior Mackenzie Morgan said, “After this trip we become so much closer and everyone gets along so well."

While the girls provided the manpower, the funds to make this project happen came from local stores.

Simmons said, “Kohl's had donated $500, Home depot donated over $1200 and also sent one of their men to put everything together today."

And with a bit of guidance, the 15 girls were able to get the room sanded and painted in just a couple hours.

Hauser said, “We love doing this and we love to come back when we do. Its an awesome experience and it helps give back but it also helps us as a team."