Leaf Relief

Leaf Relief - "Leaf Belief is to Give Relief"

GOSHEN, Ind. – The nearly 300 Goshen College student-athletes, coaches and staff members, and volunteers have teamed together for a community service project that has been titled "Leaf Relief."

Originally created in 2008, the program is designed to unite the entire athletic department to lead an effort to serve others in the spirit of Goshen College and its core values, which include servant leadership. It will give student-athletes a chance to make a difference in tangible ways and "give back"
to the community.

The three main focuses of the project involve community service projects, raising awareness for worthy causes, and raising funds for humanitarian efforts.

While individual teams will do events specific to charities of their choice, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) chose one local organization that will be the focus of department-wide fundraising. The SAAC – comprised of athletes from each of Goshen's 14 sports – has identified LaCasa, Inc. as the project's primary charity.

LaCasa, Inc., founded in 1970, provides housing and other human services for the benefit of Goshen's low-to-moderate income households. Some of their programs's include: training, counseling, and loans for first-time home buyers, community and neighborhood building and organization projects, immigration and language services, housing partnerships and developments. For more information on LaCasa, Inc. please click here.

Scroll down for some of the ongoing and past projects and check back often as the Goshen College Athletic Department gives back through "Leaf Relief."

The Goshen College baseball team used its off day during its Florida Spring Break trip to make a difference in the local community.  During their trip last week, the Maple Leafs lent a hand at the Sunshine Foundation. The team did a variety of landscaping jobs all day last Thursday to prepare for guests of the dream village to arrive.  They also got a chance to hear from Sunshine Foundation Coordinator Property and Family Manager Wanda Curtis who explained the organization and showed video about the thousands of children who have visited the foundation from all over the world. 
The Goshen College women's basketball team recently lent a hand with a Habitat for Humanity build.  They spent one of their off days during Christmas break putting up the walls of a house in Bristol.  "It's such an amazing experience to be given the opportunity to serve others who need assistance," head coach Stephanie Miller explained.  "In my opinion, there is no greater sense of fulfillment than knowing that you have bettered the lives of others.  Watching my team work together to build the foundation of a house, create walls where there was only concrete, and meet the women who they were supporting in the process made me very proud to be the women's basketball coach at Goshen."
Individual Maple Leaf teams have taken the lead in the community by helping with a variety of events and projects.  Some examples include: free clinics by men's basketball in elementary schools, softball team managing art activities for local homeless shelter, women's basketball directing traffic for trick or treaters, cross country raising funds through running sponsorships, and men's tennis painting local rehabbed houses.
The Maple Leafs have joined with the entire Goshen College campus each September for Celebrate Service Day.  The midweek event has students, faculty, and staff take the day off work and classes to service in more than 40 local charitable organizations ranging from Habitat to Humanity, food kitchens, and community cleanup.  A popular spot for athletes has been the Elkhart River Cleanup crew with canoes down the river and removed a commercial sized dumpster of garbage each year.
The men's and women's cross country teams are collecting used running shoes for children and young adults in Kenya. Inspired by head coach Doug Yoder and Kenyan natives Sam Chege and Ramadhan Onyango, the shoes will go to those in need in Kenya, who often run barefoot rather than spend money they on footwear. Chege says it is a simple choice, "Nobody is going to run hungry and buy shoes." Collection bins are available in the Recreation-Fitness Center on campus.  To date, more than 200 pairs of shoes have been collected.
For the past three years, Goshen head cross country coach Doug Yoder hosted an indoor marathon with proceeds going to LaCasa, Inc. and Haitian Relief.  The event features 204 laps on the upstairs track in the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center.  In three years, the event has raised more than $4,000.
Several basketball games in the past few seasons have been designated as either food or toy drives.  Typically around the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas), these games have offered free admission in exchange for donations.  More than 300 pounds of food and hundreds of dollars in toys have been distributed to local charities.


In early December 2009, the athletics department announced the goal of raising $4500 towards the purchase of a well for a village in Kenya through the selling of ESPN The Magazine subscriptions.  The combination of the subscriptions, donations to the Maple Leaf Athletic Club, and the sale of t-shirts commemorating Errick McCollum breaking the men's basketball all-time scoring record, allowed Goshen Athletics to reach that goal.  For information on the now completed well visit The Water Project's page for the Kenyan well.