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Holiday helpers roll up sleeves for Community Bowl

by Farren Benjamin
With brushes in hand, Trojans go about their volunteer work at Vermont Avenue Elementary School. (Photo/John McGillen)
Photo: With brushes in hand, Trojans go about their volunteer work at Vermont Avenue Elementary School. (Photo/John McGillen)

As the fall semester was coming to a close, USC student-athletes found time to lend a helping hand to children in the surrounding neighborhood for the second annual Community Bowl.

On a recent Saturday, more than 120 USC student-athletes representing 10 of the university’s varsity sports took a trip to Vermont Avenue Elementary School — one of the USC Family of Schools — to help finish many projects that wouldn’t have been possible without the help of so many student-athletes, parent volunteers from the Trojan Athletic Parents Association, members of the athletic department and members of the community.

“A day like this is just as powerful for our student-athletes as it is for these elementary school kids,” said Scott Jacobson, assistant athletic director for development. “It speaks volumes about our student-athletes, that they understand what it means not only to be an athlete and a student, but what it means to be a student-athlete in a community where there is room to give back.”

The student-athletes assisted with numerous projects, such as painting the outside of the kindergarten rooms and inside the hallways, as well as the design of murals. They also spent time reading Dr. Seuss books to the children and teaching them about making healthy choices regarding food and nutrition.

“It was a great experience just getting to take a break from studying for finals to go hang out with the kids,” said junior Sophia Popov. “I met a ton of great children, including my buddy Jose, and it was so nice having them there with us on a Saturday to help renovate their school and making it a better place for everyone.”

Once most of the projects were completed, the student-athletes were able to play games with the children, including basketball, four square and hula hoop, as well as teaching them the basic rules of competition and sportsmanship.

“It was great to be able to spend a few hours with these amazing kids,” said sophomore Wyatt Strahan. “I had so much fun playing games and marbles with the kids. It was definitely an experience I will never forget.”

The second annual Community Bowl is one of the many service projects that extends the USC athletic program’s rich tradition of giving back to the community and helping the USC Family of Schools in many ways.

“This was my second year volunteering for the Community Bowl,” said senior Alitta Boyd. “I strongly feel that this program will establish a new legacy of giving back to the surrounding community for years to come.

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