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Kent State’s Director of Student-Athlete Development Honored by Kent City SchoolsPosted Dec. 12, 2011
Angie Seabeck receives district’s “Friend of Kent City Schools” award
Angie Seabeck, the director of Student-Athlete Development at Kent State University, was recently honored by Kent City Schools as the 2011 “Friend of Kent City Schools” award recipient. Seabeck was recognized during the district’s board meeting on Nov. 17.
Over the past year and a half, Seabeck has helped coordinate various volunteer opportunities for Kent State student-athletes with Kent City Schools, specifically at nearby Walls Elementary. Blossoming from an idea shared at a conference last year, Seabeck’s relationship with Kent City Schools continues to grow.
Kent State student-athletes are in the second year of “Fridays With the Flashes,” a community service program where student-athletes interact with elementary students during their afternoon recess period. It was the first program that Seabeck presented to Walls Elementary.
Each week on Fridays, a group of Kent State student-athletes representing the university’s 18 intercollegiate sports programs interact with the students at Walls Elementary.
“The kids just come to them,” says Seabeck. “We help coordinate kickball games or help on the jungle gym; it’s typical recess. It’s good for the kids to have the role models there.”
The impact of the interaction between the Kent State student-athletes on the students at Walls Elementary is immeasurable.
Junior Rachel Guida, a Kent State gymnast and a participant in “Fridays With the Flashes,” was in the Kent downtown area when a mother and her three daughters approached her.
“The mom just wanted to say thank you,” says Guida. “She said to me, ‘You have no idea how excited my girls get when they see you there.’ Since then, whenever I’m there, the girls come running up to me and give me hugs.”
“It made my day,” Guida says of her encounter. “That’s why I do it.”
Thanks to the success of “Fridays With the Flashes,” Seabeck and Kent City Schools have expanded their community outreach opportunities.
This past fall marked the first year for the Reading Intervention Program for six Kent State student-athletes who go over weekly to provide tutoring in areas of reading and math for elementary students who struggle in those areas. The Reading Intervention Program provides the Kent State student-athletes – who are majoring in education – the opportunity to work with students in a classroom setting.
Other programs that Kent State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has implemented at Kent City Schools, with the assistance of Seabeck, include football and men’s basketball reading events at different Kent elementary schools throughout the year.
Seabeck was nominated for the award by Walls Elementary Principal Heidi Singer, who has worked with Seabeck in finding ways for Kent State student-athletes to connect with the grade school children. And, it seems, the brainstorming of ideas never ceases.
“Angie continues to try and make connections,” says Singer. “At the school board meeting on the day we were going to present her the award, she came an hour early to watch a presentation from one of our teachers; afterwards, she suggested ways that Kent State could help with that project. Even then, Angie was thinking of new things that could be done to tie-in with the community.”
The result? Both Seabeck and Kent City Schools are discussing ways of helping provide male role model programs for at-risk elementary students in the district.
Donating time isn’t the only thing Kent State’s student-athletes are providing for Walls Elementary and Kent City Schools. Kent State’s SAAC donated money raised from their annual Jock Jams program to Walls Elementary to help purchase equipment that the school desperately needed.
This past fall, Kent State football hosted Walls Day Out for their game against South Alabama on Sept. 24. Children had a chance to do a pre-game run through with the football team prior to the Golden Flashes’ 33-25 victory over the Jaguars.
“For some of these kids, even though they live in the same city as a college campus, this was their first experience at a college event,” says Singer. “Some couldn’t afford to go, or never thought of doing it. It makes that college connection early, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”