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Student athletes ‘blanket’ kids with attention

​There’s something about fleece blankets that makes you smile.

Freshman student-athletes from all 13 of DePaul’s NCAA teams discovered that in September when they gathered to make 600 blankets for low-income children. It was one of the many service activities the Blue Demons do throughout the school year. Most of the student-athletes had never made a blanket before. Some had never done service before. They all loved it.

“It was more than team bonding,” says women’s basketball​ player Elri Liebenberg. “It’s that warm feeling in your heart that you know you did something that’s going to keep someone else warm during the winter. It was very fun.” 

But the big fun began when the student-athletes hand-delivered the blankets to kids in the St. Vincent de Paul Center. The Blue Demons helped with crafts, played “Duck Duck Goose” in the gym, and clambered around on the playground with the delighted children. 

“It was awesome just looking at their faces. They were so happy for all of us to work with them. Even if it was just gluing leaves on their sheet of paper, you could tell, it made their day,” says soccer player Lauren Frasca.

It can be difficult for college student-athletes to find the time to volunteer. DePaul Athletics works hard to create service opportunities that fit into players’ schedules, allowing them to connect with the community in ways beyond athletics. That’s one of the reasons softball player Angela Scalzitti committed to DePaul.

“That’s something that’s so great about this university. Service is a central part of the DePaul experience,” Angela says. “It’s part of how I’m growing as a person, not just as a player.”