June 26, 2014
"There are things that are bigger than us and we have to remember that."
These are wise words from Central Michigan volleyball coach Erik Olson, which serve as motivation for his student-athletes and staff in their efforts to give back to the community.
The Chippewas have volunteered in several events throughout the year in hopes of making a difference, and to also get out of their comfort zone.
Team members volunteered as road rangers at the June 6-8 Le Tour de Mont Pleasant 2014, the largest USA Cycling-sanctioned multi-day pro cycling event in Michigan. More than 500 volunteers help make the event go.
Those who received the Chippewas' help confirmed Olson's belief that his team went above and beyond.
"They did beyond superb," said Lisa Hadden, a race director and a certified official with USA Cycling. "These are strong and highly motivated young women who gave their all to a sport they probably have never seen. They conducted themselves in a professional manner, were positive, cheerful and awesome to work with. We were very impressed, which says a lot for their coaches as well. They were great role models for our younger volunteers."
Throughout the spring semester, the Chippewas volunteered at the Isabella Community Soup Kitchen. In an effort to keep the focus on those in need, they volunteered a few at a time and did not identify themselves as CMU volleyball players.
In-house help was also received from the players when volunteering at CMU-related events, the Chippewa Challenge golf outing and Special Olympics Michigan.
"It is important to give back and be aware of other peoples struggles," Olson said. "To help others achieve, and not just worrying about ourselves."