If an athlete only has time to perfect their game, then why did Taylor Stricklin prove that wrong? In spite of Stricklin’s six-hour basketball practices, hours of homework, weekly traveling for games, she was able to fit in community service. Over 80 hours to be exact. As a resulting, this sophomore received a scholarship sponsored by Pepsi.

Pepsi collaborated with the athletic department to put on a community service competition. Stricklin, a North West Regional all-star, did not hesitate to the challenge. Craig Jackson, the athletic director, organized for the athletes to get involved.

Jackson used an app called Helper Helper. The app posts community service activities for the athletes to take part in. Stricklin is no stranger to competition. She got involved immediately. Stricklin chose to help at the Boys and Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley, put on basketball camps for children, holding game booths at elementary schools and particiaped in Champion Reads.

Champion Reads is a volunteer opportunity for athletes to go to elementary schools and read to children. Jackson orders and donates enough books for each child to have a copy. The athletes have held this event at Winchester and Green elementary schools. They spend about 30 to 40 minutes at the school. The Champion Reads will start back up at the end of October.

Stricklin said her favorite volunteer activity was reading to the children, “Little kids are fun… I remember being little, and having visitors was super cool.”

Stricklin also shared the after-effects of her volunteering at a basketball camp for children. She related how the girls from the camp came to the women’s UCC basketball games and would cheer them on. After the games, they would come to ask the players for autographs. This brings an overall community of support.

Dave Stricklin, the RiverHawks women’s basketball coach states the importance of athletes being involved in volunteer work. “As a coach I want them to be a part of the community and I’m proud that everyone was a part of it.”

Stricklin explains “The community does a lot for athletes that wouldn’t be possible without them and to give back is the least we can do.”

The competition will take place again this year for the athletic department. Athletes can get ready by downloading the Helper Helper app to start taking action around the community. The athletic directors have a code to get updates about future community service opportunities. Let the competition begin.