Posted: 06/21/2012 | Last updated: June 21, 2012 at 09:44 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Former Lehigh student-athletes Jessica Miller (field hockey), Erica Prosser (women’s basketball) and Julie Sterrett (softball and current Athletics Leadership Coordinator) traveled to Chicago the weekend of June 8-10 to take part in a community service project. The trio attended as part of SALSC (Student-Athletes Leading Social Change), spending the better part of their Saturday painting Banneker Elementary School through the annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon.
The service project included more than just SALSC members as numerous groups from around the country joined together for the cause. Thousands of volunteers first met at the Daley Plaza. From there, they were bused to respective areas for various service projects. Miller, Prosser and Sterrett headed to Banneker Elementary School in Englewood, Chicago, paining the school’s classrooms, hallways and gym.
The other schools with SALSC programs were also represented in Illinois and Michigan, while some new additions were highlighted by a large representation from the University of Minnesota.
Miller, Prosser and Sterrett have been heavily involved in the SALSC program since its existence three years ago. Miller and Sterrett were among four Mountain Hawks who helped build a school in Ecuador last summer while Prosser did the same in Kenya two years ago. Each year, the Lehigh group has helped raise funds for a school in an impoverished international village before going to that area and building the actual school. Women’s lacrosse rising senior Anna Patterson will be representing Lehigh in SALSC’s trip to Kenya in a few weeks.
“We’ve been happy with our involvement and contributions to SALSC, and we hope to continue contributing to this amazing group in any way we can,” said Miller. “This year, there were about 10 individuals who made up Lehigh's SALSC group. Throughout the year, we planned fundraisers and raised enough funds to send one student-athlete to Kenya. We plan on doing more national and local service projects in future years and we’re hoping to get the Lehigh community more involved in, and familiar with, our organization.”
Just less than a year after the Ecuador trip, the group was able to make a difference in a different way - utilizing a weekend to give back to the Chicago community. It was two vastly different experiences, but in the end, connected back to the same thing: giving back.
“When we went to Ecuador, we were extremely invested in the project,” said Miller. “We spent about seven months preparing and implementing the fundraising for the Ecuador project. With this trip, we knew exactly where the money we raised would go, what it would be used for, who would benefit from it and how they would benefit from it.
“We did get to interact with the principal and some of the students at the elementary school in Chicago, which helped immensely with making us feel more connected with the community that we were helping,” Miller continued. “Working alongside the students of the school and knowing they’d be more excited to go to school because of the work we were doing was an amazing feeling.”