Humber College is this year’s recipient of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Community Service award.
Each year, the CCAA recognizes a member institution which has successfully developed and administered a community relations program.
The Hawks Have Heart Program at Humber actively involved student-athletes in various extra-curricular volunteer activities that aimed to provide a positive impact on the community, encourage citizenship and raise awareness on important social awareness issues.
Several on- and off-campus opportunities were promoted to engage student-athletes. Hours were accumulated, with the emphasis being on a variety of learning opportunities that complemented their in-class learning experience. Certificates of Participation, Involvement, and Leadership were designed and distributed to those who got involved and accumulated the required amount of hours.
There were four levels of recognition: Bronze Heart (1-3 hours of community service), Silver Heart (4-8 hours), Gold Heart and Platinum Heart (15+ hours).
In its first year of existence, Hawks Have Heart welcomed 28 student-athletes, who got involved in the school-promoted activities which met the requirements of the program. In addition, many more athletes participated in various clothing/food/toy drives.
In one situation, student-athletes volunteered four hours in helping first-year student’s move into Residence. In doing so, the volunteers essentially became spokespeople for the institution by educating the first-year students on Humber’s programs, extra-curricular activities and athletics.
In another case, student-athletes created and implemented an eight-week Girl’s Physical Activity Project, for High School females at the Rexdale Pro Tech Community School. Each week, two sessions were conducted: One which entailed a 20-minute educational session followed by some form of physical activity, and a second which was strictly physical activity. The aim of the project was to promote physical activity to at-risk females and encourage them to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle.
The Hawks Have Heart program will continue at Humber College because the college wants to be known not only for having strong varsity teams, but also for its ability to come together and give back to the community. “Athletics does a lot of great things to develop relationships in the community and support the involvement of young people in positive activity,” said Jason Hunter, Vice-President of Student Services and Engagement.
While Humber admits there is room for growth, those who did get involved appreciated the opportunity to meet new people and share their knowledge with others while developing their leadership skills. “By getting involved in a number of community service initiatives this past year, I was able to gain greater insight into less fortunate communities and discover different ways in which I can make a difference and contribute to the betterment of their quality of life,” said Melissa Szilagyi, a member of the college’s women’s basketball team.
The CCAA Community Service award was presented at the CCAA annual general meeting in Banff, AB on June 10, 2014.
The CCAA is a national sport organization that enriches the lives of student-athletes through intercollegiate competition.