|Raider basketball athlete laughs with staff from elementary school.|
|Raider basketball athlete points to elementary student.|
When it comes to CCC athletics, it’s not all about practice, conditioning, games and the win-loss column. There is also community involvement and giving back.
Each team has been involved with various service endeavors throughout the years and the current coaches and student-athletes are very committed to continuing that tradition. Here is a sketch of what each team is doing:
The Raiders softball and volleyball squads have joined forces in recent years, volunteering with the annual Night to Shine event in Columbus. Night to Shine is one of the Ministries of the Tim Tebow Foundation. Perhaps the best way to describe Night to Shine is that it is an invitation-only, prom-like event for people with special needs.
Volleyball player Katelynn Halstead, who was also on the cheer and dance team, volunteered for Night to Shine both years she was at CCC. For the first year, Halstead was behind the scenes as she helped the attendees do their hair and makeup.
“It was just so exciting to help them transform into a prom-like character for the night,” said Halstead.
For the second year, Halstead was a “buddy” and assigned to a certain person for the entire evening by encouraging her to take part in all the activities.
“I had one job and that was to make one person feel super special,” said Halstead.
When CCC women’s basketball coach Billy Perkins joined Raider athletics in 2017, he established the Reading Raiders program at Platte Center Elementary School in Platte Center.
At the start of each fall semester, an assembly is held, and each player teams up with various classrooms. Throughout the year on selected Fridays, team members return to the classrooms and read with the students for one hour.
“The Raiders Reading program has gone better than I could have ever imagined,” said Perkins.
“The staff at Platte Center Elementary and Principal Witt have made us feel part of their team and we have been so blessed to work with them.”
The CCC women’s soccer team also takes part in the Reading Raider program. Each Friday beginning in January 2020, players went to North Park Elementary School in Columbus and read for an hour.
The Raiders men’s basketball team occasionally visits St. Isidore’s Catholic School, a pre-K through 6th grade elementary school in Columbus.
The team assists the students with reading, math or encouragement through a school assembly. Head coach John Ritzdorf said the team had “a blast” going to St. Isidore’s last year, his first leading the CCC program.
“We always strive to make our program about more than basketball,” said Ritzdorf. “Getting into schools to read to students, help them with homework, talk to them about what college life is like, or just to spend time with them is a great way to serve others.”
The Triumph Builders Club is an organization that teaches boxing skills to at-risk middle school students. The CCC men’s soccer team has hosted club members on tours of the Columbus Campus.
“We showed them around on campus visits, played sports with them, and talked about life as a college student and the benefits of going to a community college,” said head coach Hawken Hanna.
In addition Hanna said some of his players were set to volunteer as coaches for the Columbus Soccer Club before the COVID pandemic. The opportunity was supposed to be an additional community outreach experience for the students but unfortunately the season was canceled due to the pandemic.