NEW ORLEANS – In a community more than six hours away from their home port, Troy University students made a difference for one community Saturday as part of events surround Super Bowl XLVII.
Some 19 Sport and Fitness Management students and faculty participated in the inaugural Super Saturday of Service as part of a five-day volunteer trip to the city, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Working at the Kingswood Playspot location in the New Orleans East section of the city, participants landscaped areas of the playground, painted picnic tables and benches, and provided light house maintenance to surrounding homes in the community.
This location was one of five area locales that benefited from the Super Saturday of Service, which partnered local residents, community organizations and civic leaders to help build up areas that were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and other major storms over the last seven years.
“The Super Saturday of Service is something that brings people from all over New Orleans, other states, and other regions together to really work in communities, with locals, to rebuild their area,” said Kim Allen, community activist and site leader for the Kingswood project. “It might mean building a playground, cleaning up an area or building a community garden.
“But by working together, we are really making a difference here in New Orleans. With our out of state guests, it really allows them to get a feel for locals that is more than just your typical, New Orleans experience.”
In addition, students participated in the NFL’s Play 60 program with area youth and second-year New Orleans Saints defensive back, Isa Abdul-Quddus.
“This was a great opportunity for our students to participate in a program that they may not have normally experienced before,” said Assistant Professor of Sport Management Dr. Michael Martinez, who is also a native of the New Orleans area. “New Orleans is more well-known as a tourist destination, but there are many sections of the city that are not normally showcased, especially after Katrina. It was a truly humbling experience for our group to work hand-in-hand with local residents on giving the children of this community a safer, cleaner environment in which to play.”
The Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee sponsored the event along with numerous national, state and community organizations, including the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, the Hurricane KaTREEna project, Samaritan’s Feet and Greenlight New Orleans.
Participating students include: Hunter Brown, of Monroeville; Shabrika Clark, an online eTroy student from Stockbridge, Ga.; Kenneth Comer, of Birmingham; Kelley Curran, of Houston, Texas; Derek Daniel, of Troy; Stevon Douglas, an online eTroy student from Chantilly, Va.; LaTisha Hardy, an online eTroy student from Pensacola, Fla.; Garrett Parker, of Troy; Gail Pasco, of Elba; Mike Peinhardt, of Cullman; Amanda Shugarts, of Tuscaloosa; Johnny Thompson, of Valley; Mykel Travis, of Cantonment, Fla.; David Turner of Montgomery; Candice Vaughn, of Madison; Ashley Woods, of Orlando, Fla.; and Anton Zimanek, of Prattville.
Faculty advisors for the group were Martinez and Dr. John Miller, Associate Dean of the College of Health and Human Services.