‘Tis the Season for KU Softball to Give Back

LAWRENCE, Kan. – ‘Tis the season for decking halls and making spirits bright. It’s also time to spend with family and friends, which is exactly what Kansas softball is up to, as the fall semester comes to a close for winter break.
The Jayhawks partnered with the Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program for the third year in a row. KU softball shopped for its family on Sunday afternoon, followed by dinner with the entire Kansas softball family, including coaches and support staff.
“Our favorite part of the Holiday season is when we shop for our family,” said head coach Megan Smith. “Were so fortunate in what we have and what Kansas gives us, so it’s really nice to be able to come together and give back. It’s so much fun to watch the team shop and they really take it seriously. It’s just a small thing that we can do to give back.”

Prior to the Holidays in 2013, the Jayhawks decided to forego a team gift exchange and decided to start a new Holiday tradition in giving back to the community. Many members of the Kansas softball team volunteer throughout the community year round, but the adopt-a-family program has quickly become one of KU’s favorite opportunities to help a very special family.
“We really enjoy the opportunity to get together and it’s a lot of fun to give back,” said junior infielder Taylor Dodson. “It means a lot to us as a team and the coaches as well. My favorite part is picking a present out for the kids and imagining them opening it Christmas morning. Seeing smiles, it warms my heart.”

The team split up into their Jayhawk teams and each got a member of the family to shop for. Everyone will receive a new outfit and a present wrapped and delivered by the Salvation Army. The entire team and coaching staff pitched in and donated their own money to help make the Holidays special for a Douglas County family.
Once the Jayhawks shopped until they dropped, Kansas headed to a local restaurant to meet up with its support staff for a fun night of food and laughter away from the diamond.
“You spend so much time with the student-athletes, especially the softball team, around work and it’s great to have an opportunity to spend a little informal time with them,” said Assistant Athletics Director of Equipment Services Larry Hare. “Time where we can visit a little bit and have some time where it’s not business. I am very grateful to be involved with such a great group of young ladies. I enjoy all the time spent with them at work and now to be able to have a meal and visit is invaluable.”
For Kansas softball, it was an afternoon of giving back and an evening of saying thanks to all that support them on and off the diamond. A chance to spend time together and kick off the Holiday season.
“For us to have a successful team it’s not just about the coaches and players, it’s about everyone else that helps us,” Smith said. “We take this time to get together as a team, but also to get our whole family together. Field crew, tickets, compliance and marketing, we want to bring everyone together because every single person that touches our program helps us succeed. We want to give our thanks and show them that we appreciate them. It’s a special night.”
The special occasion for KU softball wrapped up with a cookie decorating contest, which was won by the Wheaties. Sunday’s activities is the final time the entire team will be together until the 2016 season begins, where Kansas looks to build on the momentum of the last two season’s trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas softball opens its 2016 campaign in Florida at the Jacksonville Invitational Feb. 12-14, hosted by Jacksonville University. The Jayhawks will play a total of five games during the first weekend of the year against North Carolina State, Jacksonville, Coastal Carolina and North Carolina-Greensboro.
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