Jan. 16, 1998

Swimmers Reach out to Lend Helping Hand

The Christmas spirit is something we all try to embrace about this time of year. For most of us, this means doing simple favors for your friends, helping your parents around the house or just simply being more open-mined about things. The spirit gives us an aura that anything is possible at this time of year.

Thanks to the Christmas spirit of Purdue's men's and women's swimming programs, anything is possible! Their efforts to make a difference this holiday season have brought many smiles to a local family.

Members of both teams decided during the last meet of the semester that it would be neat to help a family in need. The group contacted the Community and Family Resource Center, who put them in touch with "headstart", a federally funded program dedicated to helping families get back on track.

The family was homeless just two months ago. Now, the mother is going to school and working while trying to support her two daughters, ages one and four.

The swimmers contributed by collecting money for the family. When it was all said and done, they had collected $175 to help buy gifts for the family. "It's a great feeling knowing we can do something to help," senior Marisa Watts said. "We are so fortunate to be where we are, and now we're giving a little back."

They are giving more than a little back. Their generosity will allow a mother and her two daughters to enjoy the holiday season. "All kids deserve a holiday season," Watts continued. "Knowing that we brightened their lives is what is most important."

Perhaps one of the most important lessons these student-athletes have learned is not one taught in the classroom or at the swimming pool, but rather one of recognizing those in need and acting on the impulse of helping them. The generosity, kindness and motivation they have displayed is tremendous and its something of which Purdue University is very proud.

(For more information, contact Brett Chabot at (765) 494-0472)