HAMDEN, Conn. Members of the Quinnipiac University women's basketball team handed out toys to local children at the Keefe Community Center Tuesday morning. The event was organized by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in conjunction with Quinnipiac's "Positive Play" initiative and Hamden Youth Services. The "Positive Play" program promotes student-athlete participation in the community.
Prior to delivering the gifts to the kids, Head Coach Tricia Fabbri and some of her players read "The Night Before Christmas" to the youths at the community center. Following the conclusion of the story, Fabbri and the Bobcats handed out copies of the book.
"This certainly puts you in a Christmas spirit and the kids really enjoyed it," Fabbri said of the experience. "Our student-athletes love to watch the kids have fun. I probably had a better time than some of these kids today."
The Student Athlete Advisory Committee wrapped and brought the gifts to the Keefe Center for Tuesday's gathering.
"It's a fabulous opportunity for each one of our student-athletes," Tracey Flynn, Quinnipiac Associate Athletic Director/Senior Women's Administrator, who also serves as the Director of SAAC. "It is important that we partake in these community activities."
Joining Fabbri and Flynn were assistant coach Kara Cassidy, Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald, seniors Erin Kerner (Erie, Pa.) and Mandy Pennewell (West Chester, Pa.), juniors Sarah McGowan (Red Lion, Pa.), Courtney Kaminski (Dudley, Mass.) and Meg Barnum (Stormville, N.Y.), sophomore Ashley Adams (Tolland, Conn.) and freshmen Jacki Mann (Rutherford, N.J.) and Felicia Barron (Springfield, Mass.).
"I had a lot of fun," Mann said. "It was very touching to see the kids' faces light up when they opened their presents."
Adams added that she was happy to give back to the community and enjoyed seeing so many of the kids happy during the team's visit. McGowan said of her time with the kids, "It was a really good experience spending time with the kids. I had a lot of fun doing this."
Anne Marie Karavas serves as the head teacher at the Hamden Youth Services has been working with the women's basketball program for nearly a decade.
"Quinnipiac has been wonderful," Karavas said. "Tracey (Flynn) has been great to work with over the last 10 years. The team has been involved with Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas gifts. The kids really enjoy it and it's all about the kids!"
Assistant coaches Helen Ridley and Tom Blake will be offering basketball clinics tomorrow morning at two New Haven schools. Blake will be teaching basketball basics at Bernard Grammar, while Ridley will be at Troupe Grammar. Both events will take place from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
The entire Bobcats' coaching staff and team will host students from Ezra Academy for a clinic at the TD Banknorth Sports Center tomorrow at 5 p.m. All these activities lead up to Sunday's game at Yale as part of the "Christmas Clash", an event to promote community involvement. The Bobcats and Bulldogs are scheduled to tip-off at 1 p.m.