Rebels Giving Back To The Community
Kelly Labor reads to a class during Nevada Reading Week.
Kelly Labor reads to a class during Nevada Reading Week.

March 6, 2008

LAS VEGAS - This spring the UNLV women's soccer coaching staff asked asked each class to come up with a community service event for the whole team to participate in.

The sophomore class choose for the team to participate in Nevada Reading Week, so last week the players went to three different elementary schools and read to kindergarten and 1st grade classes. We now present Kelly Labor's report on the team's experience with Nevada Reading Week. In future weeks, we will also show what the freshman and junior classes chose as well.

Kelly Labor

The members of the UNLV Women's Soccer team brainstormed, then decided and organized to attend Nevada Reading Week as one of their community service projects. There were many ideas that were thrown around but the team decided it would be the most fun traveling around Las Vegas and interacting with the children. The children are always supporting the girls on the field by watching their games, so now it was the girls' turn to support the children in their classrooms. Three participating elementary schools were chosen at random and they included Hinman Elementary School, Fyfe Elementary School, and Bryan Elementary School. After practice on a Friday afternoon the team split up into three groups and were welcomed immediately at each location by the librarian. Each player was asked to choose two or three books and then escorted by the children to various kindergarten and first grade classrooms. From there, the kids settled on the floor cross-legged and wide-eyed as the member of the team read aloud the desired story.

It was a really important service project as it brought the girls from the team into the community and gave them a chance to give back. The youth support UNLV soccer throughout the year and Nevada Reading Week allowed UNLV soccer to support the youth. It also gave an opportunity for the children to meet the girls in person and connect with them on another level other than just soccer. The children were allowed to ask questions after the story about anything they wanted to know about soccer, about the program, about the team, or about the individual team member. At the end of the reading session, each elementary student who was read to was personally invited by the UNLV soccer player to attend the UNLV soccer camp over the summer.



Back at practice the next day, the girls could not stop talking about how rewarding the experience was and everyone's stories were shared. There was a girl who received a hug from each and every member of the class when they said their goodbyes. Other girls loved to talk about the many questions that were asked about a wide variety of topics ranging from how to play soccer to if certain injuries hurt to what their favorite movies are.

Overall the service project produced many smiles and positive feelings from both the members of the UNLV Women's Soccer team and the elementary school students of Las Vegas. Email addresses and phone numbers were taken by the librarians in hopes that they could reserve the team for next year's Nevada Reading Week. When asked if the team would be interested in doing it again next year, not one hesitated in giving a definite yes.

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