BIRMINGHAM, Ala -- The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 20 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts. The eighth annual women’s volleyball Community Service Team follows:
Kelli Stipanovich, Senior, Outside Hitter, Arkansas
Stipanovich is a three-year member of Arkansas’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She is active in the Razorbacks’ Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and assisted with the Arkansas volleyball Special Olympics Clinic last March which had more than 130 adult and youth players in attendance. Stipanovich also participates in university outreach programs including Book Hogs and Sweat Hawgs. She is a two-time member of SEC Community Service Team (2008, 2010).
Sarah Wroblicky, Sophomore, Defensive Specialist/Libero, Auburn
Wroblicky has been an important part of the Auburn volleyball team on and off the court. Her community service projects include working with Run to Read, the Alabama-Auburn Canned Food Drive and assisting with downtown Auburn Halloween Trick-or-Treating. Wroblicky has also helped international students as a “Conversation Partner” and reads to elementary students near her home in California. She earned the team’s “100% Award” for the 2010 season and is a member of “Top Tigers”.
Betsy Smith, RS-Junior, Middle Blocker, Florida
Smith’s community service projects include volunteering with the Baby Gators program, Storybook Saturdays, Mebane Middle School, Shands Hospital, Shands Miracle Network, Bucholtz High School, Prime Time After School Program and Miracle on Main. She is president of SAAC and previously served as SAAC treasurer (2010-11). Smith is also Florida’s representative on SEC SAAC. This is her second consecutive year being named to the SEC Community Service Team.
Kathleen Gates, Senior, Setter, Georgia
Kathleen Gates, also a member of the Southeastern Conference Community Service Team in 2009 and 2010, has gone above and beyond in the community locally in Athens and abroad. Gates currently serves as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and has been on SAAC as the volleyball team representative since 2009 and in 2010, she was Co-President. In her roles with SAAC, Gates attends bi-weekly meetings and coordinates and assists with events throughout the year including a clothing drive for Project Safe, collecting can goods for the SEC Can Drive and assisting in feeding the homeless. Gates is also the Director of Awareness for AutismUGA, through which she coordinated Walk for Autism 2011 and other various events including a community resource fair, a spelling bee and dart tournament fundraisers. She also participates in REAL Saturdays, where once a month a local elementary school holds a program for autistic students to help with social communication. Furthermore, Gates' role with AutismUGA involves handling the public relations of the organization. She uses her position to make contacts with various organizations for support, updates Facebook, Twitter and a block and meets with the Board of Directors to plan events. Gates has also been a leader for Team United, a coalition of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action and the Georgia Athletes Outreach to serve the UGA student-athlete group. In this role, Gates attends weekly bible study and group events, and in 2010, she led a six-week long study and is the "multi-sport" leader, which consists of softball, volleyball, women's basketball and gymnastics. Gates has also taken part in Dig Pink months with her teammates in October of 2010 and 2011 to create awareness and raise funds to donate to the Athens Breast Health Center.
Ann Armes, Graduate Student, Middle Blocker, Kentucky
Armes is the most dedicated student-athlete at Kentucky in the area of community service with over 300 hours logged. She was recently named SEC Volleyball Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year and is a John Wooden Citizen Cup Semifinalist. Armes serves as the Wildcats’ SAAC President and was inducted into the Frank G. Ham Society of Character which is the highest honor for any UK student-athlete. She received CoSIDA Academic All-District honors twice in her career and has volunteered at the YMCA Volleyball Clinic, Lighthouse Ministries and William Wells Brown Elementary School, among others. Armes’ community service projects include working with the SEC Together We Can Food Drive, God's Pantry Back Pack Program, Athletes in Action Mission Trip, St. Joseph Hospital Women's Clinic, Athletes in Action Columbus Project and Athletes in Action Los Angeles Urban Project.
Lauren Waclawczyk, Senior, Defensive Specialist, LSU
Waclawczyk’s service involvement includes working with “Geaux Books” – over the summer, Waclawczyk created and championed the idea for collecting books at all home volleyball matches to replenish a local school library in need. “Geaux Books” raised close to 3,000 books for Dufrocq Elementary School and presented the books at a school assembly on Nov. 8th. Waclawczyk also assisted with the SEC Together WE CAN Food Drive where she collected cans and monetary donations for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank during a home soccer match. During Halloween BOOzar, Waclawczyk helped provide a safe night of Halloween fun to local children by playing volleyball games, signing autographs and handing out candy. At LSU's Greening Day, Waclawczyk helped beautify the campus by planting flowers, raking, and mulching areas. She also volunteered with Kid's Hope USA – Waclawczyk mentored a child at Wildwood Elementary School by meeting with the student throughout the semester, working on school work and playing educational games.
Morgan Springer, Senior, Libero, Ole Miss
Springer is active in the Reading with the Rebels program. She has read regularly with area elementary students, volunteered with the SEC Canned Food Drive and aided the Rebel Re-Run program with collecting tennis shoes for needy youth. Springer has also helped with cleanup and other volunteer efforts in the area following the tornados that hit the area in April 2011. She is a three-time selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, five-time selection to the Chancellor’s Honor Roll at Ole Miss and a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
Hannah Wilkinson, Senior, Middle Blocker, Mississippi State
Wilkinson’s community service projects include assisting with “Bully’s Book Blitz” - working to improve the reading skills of students at and with the
Champions Breakfast at Starkville’s Sudduth Elementary School, working with the Thanksgiving Canned Food Drive in the Starkville community and volunteering with the reading program at Starkville Academy. Wilkinson has also assisted new students and their families with moving and relocation needs during Mississippi State’s “Moving You To MSU” campaign. She is active as a youth programs and adult women leader in the LDS Church of West Point.
Brandi Byers, Junior, Middle Blocker, South Carolina
Throughout her two plus years at South Carolina, Byers has completed over 62 hours of community service. Her efforts this semester ranks second in overall hours completed amongst all student-athletes. Byers has volunteered with and supported the following organizations/initiatives: Ronald McDonald House, St. Faustina’s Charity, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Carolina Children’s Home and MLK Jr., Service Day, among others. The most important aspect of her community service is that she would be just as happy to volunteer if no documentation was involved. Though it has become routine at this point, in the beginning she almost begrudgingly submitted information on the community service she performed because for her, it’s not about the numbers. She delights in helping others and in turn, does so with a smile on her face. She has consistently been proactive in finding new ways to give back, given her understanding of how great a privilege it is to play college athletics.
Kayla Jeter, Senior, Outside Hitter, Tennessee
Jeter has participated in the Honor Air Veterans Welcome, where she greeted war veterans and thanked them for their service. She has also volunteered at the Manorhouse Assisted Living Home by working the dining room, helping residents change and aiding the staff in building maintenance and resident transportation. Jeter’s other community service projects include volunteering in Knoxville at the Karm Homeless shelter, helping as a peer mentor and giving volleyball lessons to children.