Immediate Release: July 7, 2011
Contact: Anthony Fiato (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Opening up their hearts
Women's soccer players Jamie Holliday and Amanda Rittmeier help the homeless
Binghamton University women's soccer players Jamie Holliday and Amanda Rittmeier decided to spend their spring breaks doing charity work for those in need last March. As opposed to many college students who choose to go on vacations or simply relax during the break, these two student-athletes went above and beyond. They were each determined to be productive and to make an impact. As a result, both volunteered with NYCUP (New York City Urban Project) at the Bowery Mission homeless shelter, the oldest homeless shelter in the country, serving the community since 1879.
The idea to volunteer stemmed from Holliday, who also participated in NYCUP last spring break as well.
"Since I had such a great experience last year, I decided I wanted to be a part of NYCUP this year," she says.
Jamie recommended the idea to Amanda, who was highly interested in volunteering over the break. Jamie's positive experience served as further motivation for both young women to spend their break at the shelter.
Long hours spent collecting,
"It's important for me to see that I made a difference in someone's life each day I was there," Rittmeier says. "This trip has taught me to open up my heart and to lend a helping hand to those in need. To see instant gratification is the most rewarding result."
From the Bowery Mission, both learned about many of the injustices that exist in the world today. They were each able to spend time with the residents, developing personal relationships with many. Their stories, pain, and struggles strongly influenced the volunteers. They experienced the opportunity of living alongside them for one week and minister to them both physically and spiritually.
This experience was important to both Jamie and Amanda, and it has affected them in a positive way.
Passionate about showing
love to those in need
Both went in to be of assistance and to help in any way needed, but the shelter had much more of an impact than either expected. From the experience, they learned valuable life lessons and developed a personal connection with many of the people in need.
One story that stood out was of a man who was homeless, wandering alongside the Grand Central Station. A talk with the man persuaded him to join the Bowery. He had suffered through having both legs amputated and had tiny maggots eating at his legs. He was sent to the nearest hospital with the hopes of making a recovery. Having heard the story of the man's hardship, Jamie and Amanda spent time with him at the Bowery, listening and learning.
Amanda's experience with the man has left an indelible impact on her.
"Talking to him and making him smile and feel as though he was welcomed and loved really impacted me," she says. "It showed me that the small things in life go a long way. Just a smile or a nice 'hello' can brighten someone's day."
Holliday and Rittmeier are just two people, but they had a tremendous impact on a number of those suffering at the Bowery Mission homeless shelter. Both had a positive mindset with the goal of assisting those in need during their time off. The experience has in many ways been extremely beneficial for both student-athletes. The initiative taken by Jamie and Amanda has also cast a favorable image on the BU women's soccer program and university as a whole.
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