We at SPRTER believe that athletes have the power to change the world. So, we wanted to show the world exactly that while also making a difference ourselves. That is why we started the SPRTER College Impact Awards (formerly the Athlete CRUSH College Impact Awards).
The College Impact Awards recognize student-athletes from across the US who have displayed acts of selflessness worth sharing. Sharing these stories, accomplishments, and positive acts is key to prompting action from others. We want to start a movement where athletes use their platform and their positions to do good. The winner of each award will get to nominate a charity(s) to which we will donate $ in their name!
Today we are recognizing our Catalyst Award finalists. This award goes to an individual who takes initiative to make a change. This is a person who gets involved with or starts initiatives to do good in their community or the world around them. They are always thinking about how they can help others.
Olivia Gray – University of Pittsburgh
Olivia has accumulated more than 400 volunteer hours during her time at University of Pittsburgh. She has worked with the following organizations: Coalition for Christian Outreach, MIVO Foundation, Coach for College, Team IMPACT, UPMC, Miracle League, Special Olympics and the Tree of Life Synagogue Congregation. Olivia was the initiator in bringing Team IMPACT recruit Rylee DiTullio to the Pitt softball team. Rylee, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, is now an honorary member of the team and attends games, practices, etc. Following the devastating Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018, Olivia worked with Pitt’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to sell tribute wristbands, with all proceeds being donated to the synagogue. Olivia is also a dedicated student, as she is a four-time ACC Honor Roll member. Her relentless dedication to helping others makes her a great candidate for this year’s Catalyst Award!
Anne Kuhm – Arizona State University
Anne has been a gymnast for a long time with a career stretching multiple Olympics and continents. She went to ASU two years ago and made an immediate impact as an athlete, a scholar, and an individual. She was able to transition to the US from France and was the Pac12 Scholar Athlete of the Year this past year. Some issues happened at the end of the year that prevented her from finishing her last competitive season, but that did not deter her desire to help her teammates as much as possible. She was in the gym every day cheering her teammates on, moving mats, and generally doing whatever was needed to help everyone else around her improve. She is also involved with NEDA and advocates for people to get involved with their NEDA Walks which raise money for the cause. Her willingness to help those around her make her an excellent candidate for the Catalyst Award.
Taylor Brooks – Loras College
Taylor has gone above and beyond the norm when it comes to serving others and her community. Highlighted below are a few things she has been involved in:
-Volunteering at Opening Doors (a women’s shelter in town)
-A member of DuBuddies (mentoring program on campus)
-Reading and assisting with school work at a local elementary school
-Loras College Sustainability Honors project that planted a prairie on campus and worked towards creating a more sustainable environment
-An escort buddy for Tim Tebow’s event A Night to Shine in Dubuque
-Assisted with a special needs prom at Loras in Dubuque
-Volunteer work with Dubuque Packers (Special Olympics team in town) helping them with various sports such as soccer, basketball, track & field, volleyball, etc.
She has also been the Women’s Basketball Team captain for 3 years and was voted the 2018-2019 Team Player of the Year at Loras College Dewey Awards for her hard work on the court, in the classroom, leadership, and providing service within the community. This immense list makes Taylor an awesome candidate for the Catalyst Award!
Alec Donovan – Centenary University
Alec was the first NCAA Full Scholarship athlete to publicly come out on a recruiting trip that he was gay. He wrestles and also runs cross country. Alec started the Anti-Bullying Club at Centenary through which he created the pay it forward campaign, which created positive energy around campus. The Anti-Bullying Club passed out good deeds to people on note cards, and it was a big hit on campus, spreading positive energy. This year Alec and the wrestling team helped package food for homeless people at Trinity Church, that helped feed 1,000 people, and they helped run the churches 3rd annual Trunk R Treat event. Each year Alec and the wrestling team help with removing pots for the Hackettstown Bid district, they clear fire hydrants on main street for the Fire department when it snows, and Alec and the team go house to house and shovel out the community of Hackettstown after each snow storm. Alec also orchestrated A Night To Shine prom night at Centenary University for special needs people. Alec made sure that he and his team completed over 40 hours of community service this past school year. His unbelievable need to help others makes him a fantastic candidate for the Catalyst Award.
Charli Spivey – University of Pittsburgh
If you’ve ever crossed paths with Charli Spivey, you’ve walked away feeling encouraged and loved. Since Charli started as a Gymnast at the University of Pittsburgh, her impact has been felt at the University of Pittsburgh and within the community at-large due to her desire to serve others in her daily life. On her team, Charli is known as a sister who is always thinking how she can help her teammates. In the community, Charli created a community service event for Pitt student-athletes and staff to donate various food items or monetary gifts to the Pitt Food Pantry to help address food insecurity in Pittsburgh. In the world, Charli has served on two mission trips through an organization called Panther Fellowship, where she has helped complete various infrastructure projects in order to better the lives of those around her. Moving forward, Charli will complete her Master’s in Child Development at the University of Georgia because she hopes to serve and develop children as part of her career. Charli’s massive heart makes her a wonderful candidate for the Catalyst Award.
Brooke Stanfield – Drury University
Brooke first started volunteering with Miracle Field based out of Springfield, Missouri in the Summer of 2017 and received an internship with the Accessible Recreating Program of Springfield. Miracle Field serves children and adults with disabilities. They use a “Buddy” system, pairing each player with a volunteer buddy who may assist in hitting, running, catching – or just cheering on! Brooke also works at a crisis nursery called Isabel’s House and has been for the past three years. There she plays with the at-risk children and serves as a community mentor for the greater Springfield, Missouri area. Two other non-profits that Brooke has been a part of include the Springfield Special Olympics and the Equilibrium Therapy Center. Both groups have a high-focus on assisting those with special needs by means of therapeutic horse rides and participating on and coaching sports teams. Her will to get involved with initiatives that benefit those who need it makes her a wonderful candidate for the Catalyst Award.
Jessica Vargo – King University
Jessica has been nominated for relentless efforts in getting involved with the community. Jessica has been a SGA senator and vice president, she is the Environmental Positive Impact at King president, the @kingswimanddive captain, Women in Stem member, SAAC member, a student rep for the Student Success Development Committee, a launch leader (Freshman Orientation Leader), a Peer Mentor, a fellow of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, a Religion/Christian Foundations Teacher’s Assistant, and she has set 9 school swim records!
Does this girl ever sleep?
Jessica selfless efforts make her a great candidate for this year’s Catalyst Award.
All our finalists also have a shot at winning the Community Award. This award goes to the individual who manages to garner the most support from the community. In order to measure this, all nominees will have to create a profile on our SPRTER app. The winner is the athlete who manages to get the most followers by deadline day! Show your support by giving them a follow on the SPRTER app!