NORMAN, Okla. – Members of the Oklahoma rowing team and OU Athletics Community Relations joined up with the Urban League of Oklahoma City to help thousands of students at its annual Back to School Bash earlier this month.
OU, the Urban League and other volunteers brought smiles to children’s faces at the event, which promoted a healthy start to the school year and provided information on community resources, social services, Urban League programs and health education in addition to providing free school supplies for children.
Stephanie Busse, an incoming freshman on the Sooner rowing team, helped at a face painting booth.
“I love kids, so helping put smiles on their faces was huge,” Busse said. “Volunteering is great because it helps all of us athletes see that there are things more important in life than sports. When we take the time to give back it helps us learn more about one another as teammates and as human beings.”
Teammate Courtney Payne, who colored, blew bubbles, and hula hooped with the kids, finds happiness and fulfillment in her life by serving others.
“Knowing that it makes somebody happy just because you are there doing something with them makes me appreciate the little things,” Payne said. “Doing community service has always been an important part of my life because it is what God has called me to do.”
To see a photo gallery of the event, visit Urban League OKC’s Facebook page.
In all, the Back to School Bash provided 2,000 backpacks, 143 haircuts, more than 50 eye exams, 36 dental exams and 25 chiropractic screenings for those in need.
“When it comes to nonprofits, volunteers are essential,” said Urban League Communications and Volunteer Coordinator Jennay Lutomski. “Volunteers help stretch funding because they assume supporting roles of a normal employee. Their efforts make nonprofits’ work reach more of the community and have a bigger impact.”
The Urban League’s mission is to assist African Americans, other minorities and the poor achieve social and economic equality. For more information, visit their website at www.urbanleagueok.org.