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Serving Beyond the Buzzer: Ashland Eagles Soar High in Community Service with Associated Charities

February 19, 2024

The roar of the crowd fades, the final buzzer sounds, and victory resonates for the Ashland University Women’s Basketball team. For these Division II, number one ranked players, triumph extends far beyond the polished hardwood.

Rooted in their community, they lace up with a different kind of purpose, partnering with Associated Charities – a local beacon of hope for over 100 years – to make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

A Legacy of Serving Ashland County

Since 1910, Associated Charities has embodied the spirit of its name, fostering resilience and hope for individuals and families struggling with poverty, hunger, and homelessness.

From their humble beginnings offering emergency assistance, they’ve grown into a multi-faceted organization, providing:

  • Essential needs assistance: Food pantry, utility assistance, and emergency financial aid offer a lifeline to those facing hardship.
  • Shelter and financial assistance that provides a path towards stability.
  • Advocacy and support: Empowering individuals through connection, event, classes and referrals to other partner agencies.
  • Community outreach: Collaborating with local partners to address systemic issues and build a stronger community fabric.

A Winning Partnership Takes the Court

AU Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach Jenna Kotas understands that victories come in many forms. The coaching staff realizes that it’s about building well-rounded individuals who understand the importance of giving back.

This philosophy seamlessly aligns with Associated Charities’ mission, forging a partnership that goes beyond cheers and applause.

The Eagles’ impact is woven into the tapestry of Associated Charities’ services:

  • Players help pack meals, ensuring Ashland families don’t go hungry.
  • They donate Santa hats and shop for Christmas gifts, bringing joy to children who might otherwise miss out.
  • They spearhead a toy drive, offering free admission to spectators if they donate a toy.

These impressive women extend their volunteerism in other ways as well:

  • They mentor children in and out of the Ashland community, instilling valuable life lessons.
  • Visits to nursing homes brighten the days of residents offering companionship and heartfelt connections.

Impact Beyond the Scoreboard

These experiences resonate deeply with the players.

Senior player Erin Daniels was moved by the experience of being able to watch a family open Christmas gifts that the team donated. “Seeing the kids light up because all of our attention is on them and they absolutely love that 17 girls and their coaches just get to watch them and hang out with them. Those moments with them have been really, really special and honestly some of my favorite memories throughout my time at Ashland.”

Senior player Macy Spielman was in St. Joseph’s, Missouri last year with the team for the Elite 8 conference and was able to share a meal with local middle school age girls and play volleyball and basketball with them. She said that’s part of the Final Four experience. It’s not just about basketball, it’s about meeting people and making a positive impact. Macy hopes that when those girls think of Ashland, Ohio that they share the lasting memories she has.

The lessons learned transcend the court, shaping empathetic leaders and responsible citizens.

Soaring Beyond the Horizon

The Ashland University Women’s Basketball team and Associated Charities represent a winning combination – athletic prowess coupled with genuine community spirit. Their partnership serves as a testament to the power of collaboration, leaving a lasting impact on individuals, families, and the entire Ashland community.

So, the next time you hear the Eagles soar on the court, remember their silent victories, echoing in the hearts and lives they touch beyond the final buzzer.

If you’d like to know how you can support Associated Charities, reach out today!