College of Marin Student Athletes Help Out Middle School
About 30 Student Athletes Volunteer as Kent Middle School Lunch-Time Activity Organizers
Kentfield, CA—Nov. 14, 2011—College of Marin athletes have been dropping by their neighbors at Kent Middle School four times a week to organize activities and help supervise, thanks to an informal agreement that provides the middle school with much-needed lunch-time help.
“They’re just out there running and playing and having a ball,” said Skip Kniesche, Principal of Kent Middle School. “They’re like Pied Pipers out there. The kids just follow them around.”
The arrangement, which began in the fall, sprung from discussions between Kniesche and Dr. David Wain Coon, Superintendent/President of College of Marin, about how students at both schools could help benefit each other.
“We saw it as an opportunity for our athletes to mentor younger students and provide an important service to our neighbors,” Coon said.
The sad reality is that strained budgets have meant fewer aide positions at the middle school and much of the lunch-time supervision had fallen to Kniesche, the assistant principal, two PE teachers and a few learning center aides.
“It wasn’t that the kids weren’t safe but they didn’t have the opportunity to do things that were as much fun as we would prefer,” Kniesche said. “This is a wonderful service. I hope this will continue throughout the year and years to come. This is what I’ve been hoping for. I think everyone’s benefitting from this.”
Colin Carmody, 19, a second-year College of Marin men's basketball team member, has been one of about 30 students to head over to the playground once a week. The children think “it’s cool” that the student athletes go to community college, he said.
“It turns out that we play with them as much as we watch them,” Carmody said. “They’re just like we were when we were young. They’re all rowdy and love to play and sprint out to the field when the bell rings.”
In addition to maintaining a minimum grade point average, participating in study hall and working with academic counselors, student athletes at College of Marin are required to participate in community service as part of their Student Athlete Academic Services Program. The program was developed three years ago to support athletes academically and increase retention. In prior years, students have participated in community food drives and served holiday dinner for people in need.