By Woodard, Dale on January 31, 2020.
The RBC Make Some Noise for Mental Health initiative invited students at Lethbridge College to get a little loud.
So on Thursday morning in the college’s Centre Core they did just that.
As part of the Make Some Noise promotion that started at last week’s Kodiaks basketball games, the festivities continued Thursday in the hours leading up to the Kodiaks women’s and men’s volleyball Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference games later that night against the Ambrose University Lions at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium.
Games were played, draw prizes were up from grabs, pictures were posed for and Kodi the mascot made the rounds as the music pumped over the PA system.
More importantly, it was another chance for students to take part in the RBC Make Some Noise for Mental Health, an ACAC-wide initiative intended to encourage empathy, understanding and open-mindedness while promoting resources and support available on campuses and communities.
For first-year Kodiaks volleyball players Sarah Hazen and Connor Hellofs, such initiatives are crucial.
“It’s important for people who are struggling to know they have people behind them they can reach out to and feel the support,” said Hazen, who was doing her part to promote the pep rally Thursday afternoon and promote that night’s volleyball games. “It’s just telling everybody about the importance of supporting athletes and supporting other students.”
The Make Some Noise for Mental Health initiative hits home the men’s volleyball team, said Hellofs.
“For our team is means quite a bit. Being a student, you don’t always have the resources to reach out and with it being 2020 now, it’s become known to everyone that mental health is a serious issue. With our team, we’re here for everybody. We love to show support to our college students. It’s what we look for, being here for everyone.”
The delicate balance of a student/athlete is the equivalent of an occupation, said Hellofs, but added it’s one that’s more than worth it.
“It’s like having a job, a job you don’t get paid for, but trust me, the benefit pays off,” said Hellofs. “Being on a team with all your best friends in the four or five years you play is amazing. The classroom is nice because it gives you that outing from volleyball, but you get to focus in the classroom and get an education out it while you’re play. It can be tough at times, especially around finals, but it’s worth it.”
The demanding schedule of the student/athlete makes that support that much more important, said Hazen.
“We practise every single day and then we play Friday and Saturday. So playing on a sports teams, there’s a lot of pressure, but you also have a built-in family as soon as you’re on the team and we support each other.”
That has made their first year in Kodiaks athletics memorable for both Hazen and Hellofs.
“It’s so exciting,” said Hazen. “I love being part of a team, not just being part of this amazing school and people, but being a part of a sports team, you have so many people behind you automatically.”
“It’s unreal, it’s like nothing I would have imagined,” added Hellofs. “I’ve trained for it. It’s something not a lot of people get to try, but when they do, it’s amazing.”
As they made a little noise in the Centre Core Thursday afternoon, the students were invited to the Val Matteotti Gymnasium Thursday night to make even more noise at the volleyball games.
“I think it’s probably going to be our most exciting game,” said Hazen. “Just to have support of our whole student body and other people for such a great cause.”
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