Throughout the 2015-16 academic year more than 95% of Wake Forest student-athletes volunteered 4,000 hours on campus and in the local community. Student-athletes participated in a wide range of community service initiatives including Habitat for Humanity, Eat With the Deacs, Project Pumpkin, Special Olympics, H.O.P.E., Santa’s Helper, D.E.S.K., and many more. Wake Forest Athletics is proud of our student-athletes’ commitment to serving others while balancing a rigorous schedule of academics and athletics.
Total Number of Outreach Hours
Percentage of Student-Athletes Participating
Percentage of Teams Participating
To stay up to date on the many things that Wake Forest student-athletes are doing for the local community and beyond, follow Wake Forest Student-Athlete Development on Facebook.
This past December, for the 30th year in a row, Wake Forest student-athletes, coaches and staff came together over the course of a couple days to wrap and deliver more than 2,000 gifts to local children as part of the Santa’s Helper program.
The Santa's Helper program was started in 1986 by Wake Forest football player, Chip Rives, who was on hand this year to participate in both the wrapping and delivering of gifts. The program, which now serves over 400 families in the Winston-Salem community, has helped provide holiday presents to children in Winston-Salem every year since its inception.
To see more photos from the 30th year of Santa’s Helper, visit the Wake Forest Student-Athlete Development Facebook page or the Wake Forest Santa's Helper Facebook page or search for #wfsh2015 on Instagram.
Named for the late men’s basketball coach, Skip Prosser, the Skip Prosser Literacy Program encourages fourth graders in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system to be successful through reading. Each school had the opportunity to schedule a visit from a Wake Forest student-athlete to kick off the program in the fall. This year 32 schools participated in the program with 1,421 children reading at least 5 books to qualify for a prize. Approximately 600 of those children earned the highest rank of “Deacon Champion” by reading at least 25 books during the program. Students were recognized during halftime of a men’s basketball game.
Luisa Fernandez, a junior on the women’s tennis team, effortlessly stands out in a crowd by virtue of her unwaveringly cheerful demeanor and her long red hair. Always smiling and eager to help others, she serves as a representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a leader in promoting community outreach programming among her teammates and peers. One particular organization with which Luisa has been consistently involved is “Help Our People Eat,” more commonly known as H.O.P.E. This organization delivers healthy meals to underprivileged families in the Winston-Salem community every Sunday, and several of the food truck’s destinations are dominated by Spanish speakers.
H.O.P.E. recently developed a mobile application that lists a variety of valuable resources such as nearby food and clothing banks, shelters, tutoring opportunities, and medical clinics within Forsyth County. During one particular shift at H.O.P.E. last spring, Luisa had an important realization; she realized that the organization’s phone application was written solely in English, which undoubtedly prevented Spanish-speaking groups from benefiting. Luisa herself grew up in Mexico, where she lived for the first ten years of her life and learned to speak fluent Spanish. Moreover, Luisa’s Spanish-speaking father started a mobile application company during his time in Mexico. Thus, she figured that he might be the perfect candidate to assist H.O.P.E. in creating an application tailored towards Spanish speakers.
When Luisa returned home for the summer, her father initially agreed to the task; yet he soon realized that the application could not simply be replicated in Spanish. It had been created by an existing company called Footprints, and therefore every individual component of the application would have to be translated individually. Luisa is not one to back down from a challenge, however. After contacting the company and gaining access to its website, she took the initiative herself to translate all 150+ of the application’s entries after copying and pasting them into Microsoft Word. Although the task was at times daunting and time-consuming, Luisa enthusiastically insists that “it was fun in that I was helping others… in that way it wasn’t a burden at all.” And through this project, Luisa explains that she was able to witness just how many places there are in Winston-Salem dedicated to helping others combat poverty.
After the lengthy translation process, Luisa inserted the individual descriptions of each food bank, shelter, and so forth in its proper location. Then she finally downloaded the application in Spanish herself, and her excitement radiates as she describes the end result, excitedly exclaiming that singular moment when “It worked!” Now, those who download H.O.P.E.’s mobile application can select a Spanish-speaking option; and if their phones are already set to Spanish, the application automatically downloads and updates itself in that language. Although it may seem as if she has successfully completed her intended project, Luisa maintains that the task is not quite finished. Now, it is imperative that the application be downloaded by as many individuals in need (English and Spanish speakers alike) as possible. Luisa urges that this resource be promoted and passed along to all who might benefit, and she intends to eventually create fliers to pass along to various sites within the community as an effective way to advertise the application.
Luisa’s initiative in translating H.O.P.E.’s application, as well as her desire to ensure that it be utilized to the benefit of as many populations as possible, reflects an admirable spirit of “Pro Humanitate” and an estimable selflessness. One can follow Luisa’s example by volunteering with H.O.P.E. on Sunday afternoons, and by simply spreading awareness of the new-and-improved H.O.P.E. mobile application. For more information about H.O.P.E., visit its website at http://www.hopews.org/ or download the food source locator application through the App Store.
The CHAMPS Cup is a competitive game that is played by all varsity sports at Wake Forest. It provides a means by which student-athletes can compete on behalf of their teams for points in different categories such as community outreach, enhancement programs, athletic achievement, and academic achievement and be recognized for their accomplishments. One women’s team and one men’s team is named each year as the victors.
The 2015-16 CHAMPS Cup winners were Women’s Soccer and Men’s Soccer. The standings were closer than ever, with the top two women’s teams separated by a mere point and averaging close to 25 hours per student-athlete. Winning squads were each given a trophy to display in their office or locker room and will be treated to a victory dinner by Director of Athletics, Ron Wellman.
The ACC Top Six for Service is awarded to each conference school annually. The recipients for this award are selected based on their involvement in campus, community and leadership initiatives. This year’s deserving recipients have represented Wake Forest athletics admirably by volunteering with countless organizations both on and off campus, including local elementary schools, animal shelters, youth clinics, and more. Whether they are carrying on Wake Forest service traditions as an executive committee member with Santa's Helper, or spearheading unique projects such as translating H.O.P.E.'s phone application entirely into Spanish, these student-athletes have gone above and beyond to positively influence the community and to motivate their teammates to do the same.
Caroline, a junior on the women’s soccer team, led her team in community service after having contributed more than 150 volunteer hours. Last summer, Caroline volunteered regularly as a tutor for El Buen Pastor, providing academic assistance to Latino children in Winston-Salem. She also volunteered with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a leadership camp helping to train young athletes to be effective leaders. Since then, Caroline has been extremely active both on and off-campus; she has positively impacted others through countless events such as Freshmen Move-In Day, Hit the Bricks, Project Pumpkin, Campus Kitchen, Eat with the Deacs, Read Across America Day, and Rake Forest. Caroline also tutors children at Ibraham Elementary School and frequently delivers healthy meals to underprivileged children through Help Our People Eat (H.O.P.E) on Sundays. Finally, Caroline represents her teammates as part of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C.).
Krysta, a senior field hockey player and the secretary of S.A.A.C., was involved in over 15 different community service events and logged more than 100 service hours. Krysta is especially passionate about helping kids; she repeatedly volunteered as a Classroom Aide at the Children’s Center over the summer, while also serving as a role model through Weed Whackers summer field hockey camp for children and through various coaching clinics. She has also been active in a wide array of events both on and off campus, including Hit the Bricks, Project Pumpkin, Operation Christmas Child, Santa’s Helper, Eat with the Deacs, H.O.P.E, and Wake n’ Shake. Krysta even partnered with the women’s basketball team to volunteer at “Night to Shine,” a prom for people with special-needs. She also played a leading role in organizing and promoting field hockey’s annual Spikeball tournament, which raises money for Melanoma research.
A junior on the women’s tennis team, Luisa has made a hugely positive impact on the Winston-Salem community this year. Last summer, Luisa single-handedly translated H.O.P.E.’s iPhone app entirely from English to Spanish, benefiting countless Spanish speakers in the local community by allowing them to access local resources such as food and clothing banks. In addition, Luisa often volunteers with H.O.P.E. on Sundays and utilizes her Spanish-speaking skills as an interpreter at a Community Care Center. Moreover, Luisa has served at various events including the Salem Sports band concert, Habitat for Humanity, Project Pumpkin, Hit the Bricks, Santa’s Helper, the JDRF One Walk for Diabetes, and Eat with the Deacs.
Hayden, a junior on the men’s soccer team, has been a leader in inspiring his team’s community service efforts. He played a vital role this year in getting his teammates to utilize the community outreach application Helper-Helper, and has also aided in planning various initiatives as a member of S.A.A.C. Hayden also has participated in countless community service activities on and off campus, including multiple Eat with the Deacs events, Habitat for Humanity, and H.O.P.E. In addition, he is also involved in working with youth soccer players at day camps as well as supporting other student-athletes on campus by volunteering as a ball boy at field hockey games.
Meghan, a junior on the field hockey team, logged over 115 hours of community service throughout the year. She involved herself in countless outreach events both on and off campus, displaying a passion for helping both animals and children. Meg routinely volunteered at the Forsyth Humane Society, and has also served regularly as a mentor at Ibraham Elementary School. She has also taken part in several field hockey youth clinics as a volunteer coach for children. Meg attended nearly every Eat with the Deacs event this year and also volunteered her time at H.O.P.E., Wake n’ Shake, Hit the Bricks, DESK, and Project Pumpkin.
Dez, a junior on the football team, has taken a leading role among his teammates in encouraging their community outreach efforts. A member of S.A.A.C., Dez also serves as a member of the Santa’s Helper Executive Committee and thus is heavily involved in the planning and execution of the athletic department’s signature community service event. He also routinely attended H.O.P.E. (both over the summer and during the school year) and volunteered at Midway Elementary School’s annual Multiplication Bowl as well as Freshmen Move-In Day on campus.