WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., March 13, 2017 — West Liberty University women’s soccer team scored big recently when it reached out to help community non-profit leader, Wheeling’s Youth Services Systems (YSS). The team moved the residents of the Helinski Shelter to its new location on Saturday, March 4.
“YSS reached out to the community and the West Liberty University women’s soccer team stepped forward with enthusiasm to support us. YSS doesn’t have the budget to pay movers so this is a meaningful service project,” said YSS chairman Jason Koegler, who also serves as vice president of Institutional Advancement at WLU.
The soccer team moved beds, furniture and personal belongings as well as the Helinski office. It took about three truck trips to finish the work.
WLU students benefit from the experience of helping too.
“Girls have to stick together and this was girls helping girls. It is eye opening to many girls to do this kind of work. We know we are so blessed to have our families and we were happy to help move these girls to a nicer facility,” said Thanna Oddo of Pittsburgh, who is one of three captains for the team.
“We were pleased to be asked to help the Youth Services System move the Helinski Shelter to its new location on Wheeling Island. We hope in some small way we have assisted youth in need,” said Coach Barry Christmas, head coach of the women’s soccer program.
An emergency youth shelter, Helinski serves females, ages 8-17 years old, who have had to leave their homes for a variety of reasons. The YSS offers many services and skill-building tools to assist them as they rebuild their lives.
About 18 youth are typically housed there. Formerly located in Marshall County, in the middle of Grand Vue Park, Helinski Shelter began to plan its move last fall. Its new location is in the former Blessed Trinity Church property, located on North York Street, Wheeling.
Along with other community volunteers who assisted with the move, these student athletes impressed Dave Leach, YSS Building and Grounds manager.
“They worked hard, harder than some of the guys. They moved everything out of the old Helinski Shelter into the trucks. When we arrived at the new Helinski Shelter, they unloaded the trucks. The soccer team helped set up the beds. This gave the youth we serve time to unpack their belongings and begin to get to know this new place,” Leach said.
“We offer many thanks to the West Liberty University soccer players for their work on this project,” he said, adding that the girls’ beds were actually a donation from two other volunteers, Jack and Erin Hill who work for AEP.
The Lady Hilltoppers will enter its sixth full season of varsity intercollegiate play next fall and Coach Christmas is the founding coach of the NCAA Division II sport at WLU. All WLU athletes participate in community service projects and partner with non-profits as part of their outreach.
For complete information on Hilltopper Athletics, visit hilltoppersports.com.