By Cynthia Littlefield, Vice President for Federal Relations, AJCU

Congress Pushing Forward on a Budget
While the nation is focused on the presidential election in one of the more unusually volatile political years, the U.S. House of Representatives has been battling behind the scenes to produce a budget for FY17. On the Senate side, Budget Chairman Michael Enzi (R-WY) has repeatedly said that there is no reason to do this, as last year’s budget agreement included funding levels for FY17.

Yet in spite of disagreements with the more conservative House Freedom Caucus, the House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) released the budget proposal for FY17 on Tuesday, and proceeded with a markup. Cuts of $877 billion are suggested for non-defense discretionary funding between FY18 and FY2026.

AJCU joins the higher education community in opposition to this budget, which cuts education funding substantially over a period of 10 years, including the Pell grant program, which is proposed to stay at the current maximum level of $5,815 per year. In essence, the budget suggests total elimination of Pell grant mandatory funding. Pell grants would thus be completely funded on the discretionary side, which is hard pressed to maintain funding for other current education programs, much less provide billions more to fund the Pell Grant program.

The budget proposes eliminating the In-School Subsidy Loan program for undergraduates, and proposes scaling back the Income Based Repayment (IBR) program, which would make a number of students ineligible for this benefit. These alterations would continue to affect undergraduate students who would have to seek private loans that historically have higher interest rates.

Beyond higher education, the budget proposes total elimination of what is known as the “Obamacare” insurance program, and cutting Medicare through a proposed voucher system. Many of these program changes would need to authorized by committee and approved by the President.

We assume this budget will pass markup today, but it remains to be seen how it can pass in the House with opposition from both the Freedom Caucus and Democrats. Even if this budget does not pass in the House, the majority party will have to address these issues further through the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and beyond. AJCU will continue to work on these issues to protect opportunities for all students to attend college.

Appropriations for FY17—What Will Happen?
Once again, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY), and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), have both emphasized getting back to the “general order of business.” If there is no budget agreement by May 15, appropriators can move forward with the appropriations process. 

Both the House and Senate Subcommittees on Labor, H&HS and Education Appropriations have given deadlines for Members to submit their funding requests. March is the month for producing letters of support.

AJCU is joining the American Council on Education’s (ACE) letter of support for student aid and institutional funding requests. In the Senate, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is soliciting signatures of support for Campus-Based Aid funding. In the House, efforts are underway for Members to sign a letter initiated by Representatives Joe Crowley (D-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) on Campus-Based Aid. Jesuit institutions are encouraged to ask their Members of Congress to sign these letters to continue the momentum in support of Campus-Based-Aid programs.

If you are a long-time reader of our publications, you may be familiar with our Jesuit Basketball Spotlight (JBS) program that raises awareness of Jesuit higher education through more than 80 men’s and women’s basketball games played between Jesuit teams every year. Over the past few years, we have worked hard to spread the word through Twitter, Facebook and our weekly e-newsletter, as well as AJCU’s 60-second promotional video screened at arenas across the country. We also name men’s and women’s National Jesuit Players of the Week during the regular season to honor the many outstanding athletes who play their hearts out every week.

Basketball is not the only sport through which our readers can learn about the mission and values of a Jesuit education. This month’s issue of Connections features football players from Fordham University and volleyball players from Wheeling Jesuit University who are making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate by volunteering at home and abroad. As well, College of the Holy Cross lacrosse alumni launched a career mentorship program to give back to their alma mater by helping current players find jobs after graduation. And the innovative Inside the L program at Le Moyne College is teaching student-athletes how to seek the Magis and find God in all things – both on the court and off.

As this issue coincides with March Madness, we are pleased to share a loving tribute to the Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball team by former player Jimmy “Jumpshot” Smith. We’re also thrilled to report that many of our basketball teams are competing in post-season tournaments, both women and men. If you’re interested in learning more, write to to receive tournament e-news updates.

As you will learn through these stories, our schools’ athletic programs produce more than student-athletes: They produce men and women for and with others.

All the best,

Deanna I. Howes
Director of Communications, AJCU

By Molly McCarthy, Le Moyne College Office of Communication

Photo by Le Moyne College
Photo by Le Moyne College


Le Moyne College’s Jesuit identity is alive in the classroom – and on the basketball court, lacrosse field, and baseball diamond. On the Heights, athletic success isn’t just about statistics. It’s about the way that coaches lead and mentor 335 student-athletes; the community service projects that transform individual players into one cohesive team; and the way that fans and even competitors are treated when they arrive on campus. It’s also about the ways in which student-athletes choose to live their lives, long after they have graduated from Le Moyne.

With that in mind, the College has introduced Inside the L, a comprehensive program for student-athletes centered on the question: “What does a distinctly Jesuit intercollegiate athletic experience mean to you and what would it look like in action?”

Several years ago, members of the Le Moyne community, including student-athletes, coaches and parents, were asked to reflect on this question during a series of lectures and seminars, as well as team and individual meetings. Their goal was to translate the values most closely aligned with Jesuit education – e.g. being men and women for others, to strive for the more (Magis), and to find God in all things – into the daily activities of the Department of Athletics. It has since become the framework of what Matt Bassett, assistant vice president and director of athletics, calls a “deeply intentional, shared and sustainable culture” based on the most fundamental Jesuit ideals. 

Inside the L for me has become a vision realized,” says Bassett. “It is a stake in the ground that says, ‘This is what we believe in! This is what we are inspired by! We share a passion to live it! We are unwavering in our commitment to sustain it.’” 

The idea for the program originated in 2010, when the members of the Board of Trustees were discussing how to best position the athletics program at Le Moyne. What resulted was a charge for the College to become a premier Division II athletic program in the Jesuit tradition in a way that was more intentional. Meanwhile, Bassett was in the midst of the Ignatian Colleagues Program, a national program sponsored by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities to strengthen lay leadership through formation, with a focus on Jesuit mission and vision. Bassett and his colleagues across campus began to look at what a mission-led athletic program – one informed by Jesuit values – would look like in practice.

“At our core, what we are striving to do is to cultivate a shared and intentional culture centered on five tried-and-true Jesuit values of Magis [the more], cura personalis [care for the whole person], being men and women for others, finding God in all things, and working for social justice,” Bassett says. “Then, we are taking those values and translating them into everyday actions.”

Le Moyne partnered with Matt Davidson, president of the non-profit Institute for Excellence and Ethics, to create Inside the L, a program launched in 2014 that is dedicated to providing students a transformational athletics experience rooted in nearly 500 years of Jesuit tradition.

Le Moyne College Men's Lacrosse Team (Photo by Le Moyne College)
Le Moyne College Men’s Lacrosse Team (Photo by Le Moyne College)


When a recent survey found that 18 percent of student-athletes described their college experience as either “stressful” or “very stressful,” Le Moyne coaches and administrators began zeroing in on what they could do to alleviate that, whether it was impressing upon them the importance of rest (something many college students sorely lack) or providing them with more detailed and specific nutritional information (which they did with the assistance of the College’s food-service provider, Sodexo). In this way, student-athletes were encouraged to embrace the idea of Magis. And earlier in the academic year, they were led through a modified version of the Examen, St. Ignatius Loyola’s practice of prayerfully reflecting on the day in order to feel God’s presence and gain a sense of his plan for us.

Inspired by the Jesuit value of service, the Le Moyne Department of Athletics established a unique ticketing program through which fans are invited to make a donation to one of three charitable organizations during home games – Room2Smile, the Patrick Wiese Foundation and Pedal to Possibilities – all of which were founded by former Le Moyne student-athletes. Room2Smile was started by former men’s lacrosse team member Brandon Spillet ’05 to provide emotional support and other services to adults and children in the Syracuse, NY region who are living with cancer. The Patrick Wiese Foundation, established by Patrick Wiese ’14, a former member of the baseball team, seeks to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for cancer. And Pedal to Possibilities was created by Andrew Lunetta ’12 to connect individuals facing homelessness with cycling, providing them with exercise and companionship.

“The idea behind this project in particular is to impress upon the student-athletes the importance of serving others and their community, and that the person in need of help may be the person standing right next to them,” says Bassett.

For Madison Hahesy ’15, a graduate assistant coach on the women’s basketball team who was a guard on the Le Moyne squad, the idea of working every day to become not just a good athlete, but a good person, is the most valuable part of the program.

“I think the greatest strength of Inside the L is the emphasis on the development of the individual as a person, not just as an athlete,” she says. “Leadership, service, transformational love, and total care of each person are just a few pieces of Inside the L. Our commitment to these ideas as a unit demonstrates a deep care for individuals and for their well-being. To me, this says so much about Le Moyne, and what a very special place it is.”

Click here to learn more about Inside the L.

By Emma Collins ’16, Editorial Assistant, College Marketing and Communications, College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross Lacrosse Players Ring the Closing Nasdaq Bell in New York City (Photo by College of the Holy Cross)
College of the Holy Cross Lacrosse Players Ring the Closing Nasdaq Bell in New York City (Photo by College of the Holy Cross)


In late January, the men’s lacrosse team at the College of the Holy Cross traveled to New York City to participate in a special job shadowing day organized by Crusader Lax Connect, a career mentorship program that brings together Holy Cross lacrosse players and alumni across different career fields.

“By leveraging the extensive and diverse network of business professionals represented by the alumni network, current players [are] provided with guidance and support as they prepare to enter the business community,” says head coach Judd Lattimore.

“We formed Crusader Lax Connect as a way to give back to the school and the sport,” says Hank Prybylski ’87, partner at Ernst & Young LLP. Launched in 2014, the mentorship program already has more than 60 alumni mentors from all over the country. Each player is assigned an alumni mentor, matching mentors and mentees across diverse business fields and geographic locations. Program activities include career advice, resume review, internship support, office visits, and networking support.

While the program offers beneficial experience for the players, alumni mentors also enjoy the opportunity to give back to their community. “In many cases, alumni help their mentee take the next step after graduation,” says Lattimore. “It is rewarding for a mentor to support their mentee on the field and then in the next steps of their career.”

Looking back on his time playing for the Crusaders, Prybylski says, “Lacrosse at Holy Cross was awesome. I made lasting friendships. As my children have moved into the college age, I see so many students today not connecting with others at school. A sports team gives you an immediate band of brothers. Ringing the [Nasdaq] bell [during the job shadowing day] was much cooler than I ever thought. It brought the team together and that is what this is all about.”

Prybylski secured an internship at Ernst & Young during his junior year of college, and joined the auditing company directly after graduating from Holy Cross as an economics and accounting major. He later received a M.B.A. from Columbia University before moving into consulting as a partner in 1997. Prybylski was instrumental in organizing the job shadowing day. 

“At Ernst & Young, we gave the team an intro to the company as a professional services firm,” says Prybylski. “Our recruiting team gave a presentation on how best to leverage their sports experiences in the job search process, and we held a panel of former college athletes [who shared] their experiences moving into the workforce.”

Following the panel discussion, the team separated into five groups and visited Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Colliers International, Sideline Swap and Credit Suisse. They ended the day at the Nasdaq Market Site in Times Square where, as an added bonus, the team and Lattimore rang the closing bell. “This was an absolutely amazing experience being a part of an event that has global recognition,” says Lattimore.

Robert H. McCooey, Jr. ’87, senior vice president of Nasdaq’s Listing Services unit, said that companies celebrating milestones and highlighting IPOs are invited to ring the closing bell, as well as non-profits that give back to the community. 

The Holy Cross team was chosen to ring the closing bell for recently placing first in the nation in the NCAA Division I Team Works Competition, presented by Helper Helper, in recognition of their commitment to community service. For the past 15 years, the team has participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.  

After the bell ringing, the team took advantage of more photo opportunities at Times Square in front of the Nasdaq Tower Marquee, which displayed a Holy Cross video and the Crusaders logo. “Teammates had friends and family texting and calling them saying that they had seen them on CNBC and other financial television networks,” says Michael Ortlieb ’16, team captain and a political science major from Newport Beach, Calif. “It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.”

Ortlieb spent his day in New York visiting several alumni, including Prybylski and recent graduates Tanner Powers ’15 and Terry McKenna ’15. 

“It was an unbelievable experience,” Ortlieb says. “To have the opportunity to meet with reputable and established firms all in one day is a true testament to the effectiveness of the Holy Cross alumni network. The young players on the team are now in a better position to succeed in the future as they have already begun to leverage the alumni network.”

By Chris Gosier, Special Projects Writer, Fordham University

Fordham football players helped to clean up Haffen Park in Bronx, NY during a team volunteer day last year (photo courtesy of Fordham University)
Fordham football players helped to clean up Haffen Park in Bronx, NY during a team volunteer day last year (photo courtesy of Fordham University)


Every spring for the past four years, Fordham University’s football players have taken part in off-season exercises that are challenging, immersive and designed to build team unity. Like summer and fall practices, these are mandatory. But they have nothing to do with wind sprints, drills, or directives. Rather, the players must complete at least two community service projects, learning the value of helping the less fortunate while also absorbing an ethic of service that ultimately benefits the team.

“I think it is a part of the culture that we have established within our program. A big part of that culture is selflessness” and not putting oneself above others, says head coach Andrew Breiner. 

The service regimen was begun by former head coach Joe Moorhead, who was hired in 2011 and resigned in December 2015 to take a position at Penn State. Breiner plans to expand the team’s service program as new opportunities arise. “There’s room for growth in all areas of the program, and community service and volunteerism is one of them,” he says.

The players are given a list of community service projects compiled by the school’s director of football operations, Greg Marmaros, but have the option of choosing one of their own. “Most guys go above and beyond those two (service projects), and half the team members do at least three,” says Marmaros.

This year, as in prior years, several players signed up to partner with students at the Bronx campus of Eagle Academy for Young Men, in the borough’s Tremont neighborhood. Players helped with homework assignments, played sports with the students, and served as mentors over the course of several weekends.

Among the volunteers was George Dawson, a junior linebacker who attended Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, where he was recognized for both his academic and athletic achievements. “It kind of made me feel I could relate to the kids,” he says of his Bronx roots. “The parents, the kids look up to me.”

Engaging with the students allowed him to share both his experience and his knowledge to help steer them on the road to achievement, says Dawson, who is majoring in economics. “Keep working hard and eventually it will pay off,” he tells his mentees. Dawson, too, benefits: “It makes me play better just knowing that there are fans out there watching.”

Another successful service outing came in mid-April when several players participated in the Fordham Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The players raised more than $1,200 in a day, more than twice their initial goal.

Aside from giving back to the Bronx community and helping players maintain a sense of perspective, the service projects have another component: helping the team win. Breiner says that the projects help the players to bond, and that this form of team building has helped contribute toward the team’s successes over the last two seasons. The Rams went 12-2 in 2013 and 11-3 in 2014, when they won the Patriot League for the first time since 2007.

The service work is uplifting for players, particularly when they see their presence making an impact on local middle and high school students, says Breiner, who volunteered in local schools as an undergraduate football player at Lock Haven University. “They come back with big smiles on their faces and talk about how cool it was and how much they enjoyed it, particularly that core of guys that just keeps signing up,” he says. “I think when they walk into the room and they have the football jersey on, those young boys and girls look up to them, and that makes you feel good. Every time they go out and they volunteer their time, they come back feeling rewarded.”

With additional reporting by Rich Khavkine.

By Jimmy “Jumpshot” Smith, Loyola University Maryland ’76

Loyola College in Maryland 1975-76 Men's Basketball Team (Photo by Jimmy Smith)
Loyola College in Maryland 1975-76 Men’s Basketball Team (Photo by Jimmy Smith)


Loyola Maryland vs. Morgan State: February 12, 1952. Loyola point guard Nap Doherty was dribbling out the clock for one last shot as he always did in a close game. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Joel Hittleman’s back-door cut. In a split second, the ball was in Joel’s hands and he laid it in with 2 seconds remaining. It was over. Loyola won 65-63.

That night, Loyola (then known as Loyola College in Maryland) and Morgan State University (a historically black university in Baltimore, MD) did something bigger than play an exciting game of basketball. The two institutions took a step forward for civil rights in America. For the first time and without much fanfare, the teams had played the first inter-racial college basketball game south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Twenty years later (1972-73), Loyola coach Nap Doherty would start three African-American student-athletes (Ed “Slim” Butler, Rodney Floyd and Morris Cannon). He wasn’t trying to prove a point—it was just the right thing to do. That season, Loyola won its conference tournament as the 5th seed and made the team’s first venture into the excitement of post-season play in NCAA Division II.

Floyd literally stole the show, intercepting a pass and scoring with two seconds remaining in a “play-in game” in Miami against Biscayne College to put Loyola ahead by a point, surviving to advance to the South Atlantic Regionals in Roanoke, Va. No one on that “Cinderella Team” gave any thought to its “color scheme.”

Former Loyola athletic director Joe Boylan once said, “It isn’t hard to do the right thing, to make the right decision.” Those words echo an important aspect of what Jesuit education is all about: preparing students to make intelligent decisions throughout their lives in the service of others. And Jesuit basketball is an extension of that education.

The 1972-73 season also marked the end of an era for Loyola’s legendary and visionary leader, athletic director and men’s basketball coach Emil G. “Lefty” Reitz, Jr. Reitz spent 36 years of his life expanding Loyola’s sports programs from 4 to 11 before the school became co-ed. Loyola’s Jesuits entrusted him with the development of their students on the athletic courts and fields and he did not disappoint: under his tenure, Loyola won 12 championships in basketball and 11 in baseball. Reitz hired coaches in other sports who would emulate his success.

In the 1940s and 50s, Reitz took college basketball in Maryland by storm. The watershed moment for the program came on the night of February 3, 1947, when the Loyola Greyhounds snapped undefeated Seton Hall’s 28 game win streak, in front a standing room only crowd at Loyola’s tiny Evergreen Gym. Rev. Aloysius C. “Wish” Galvin, S.J. ’48 was a starter on that team, which included future NCAA All-Time scorer, Jim Lacy Jr., and future NBA player, Andy O’Donnell (Loyola’s first and only future NBA player until Mike Morrison made the Phoenix Suns roster in 1989).

O’Donnell and teammate Bill Johnson held Seton Hall’s All-American and Naismith Hall of Famer, Bobby Wanzer, to 8 points while Lacy totaled 21 on the way to a 54-53 victory. Joe Kelly ’39, a sportswriter for The Baltimore Sun, was covering the game and said, “I thought the roof was going to blow off the place.”

Loyola’s president at the time, Rev. Edward B. Bunn S.J., declared Monday, February 5, 1947 as a school holiday in honor of the Greyhounds’ amazing achievement.

In an interview at Georgetown Preparatory School in June 2007 (just before his death later that year), Fr. Galvin was asked, ”What was it like the night Loyola broke Seton Hall’s 28 game win streak?” He leaned back in his chair and with that deep voice, familiar to all who knew him, said, “It was the thrill of a LIFETIME!”

Fr. Galvin’s life story epitomizes how Jesuit education can impact the lives of others. He entered the Society of Jesus after graduation, became a dean at Loyola, then president of the University of Scranton, before leading a 37-year career as a math teacher and football chaplain at Georgetown Prep. Like Lefty Reitz and Nap Doherty, Fr. Galvin inspired fairness, loyalty and confidence, and as a Jesuit, he inspired faith and self-worth, making every person he ever met feel special. Coach Reitz only displayed one photo of any of his players on his office wall, that of Fr. Galvin.

 Loyola University Maryland President Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J. with Jimmy "Jumpshot" Smith (Photo by Jimmy Smith)

Loyola University Maryland President Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J. with Jimmy “Jumpshot” Smith (Photo by Jimmy Smith)

 Loyola faculty in 1943 (photo by Jimmy Smith)

Loyola faculty in 1943 (photo by Jimmy Smith)

 Rev. Aloysius "Wish" Galvin, S.J., co-captain of the 1947-48 Loyola men's basketball team (photo by Jimmy Smith)

Rev. Aloysius “Wish” Galvin, S.J., co-captain of the 1947-48 Loyola men’s basketball team (photo by Jimmy Smith)

  "Feathers are nice Lacy, but you need golden airfoils": Cartoon by Weston Emmart '44, former Loyola newspaper cartoonist (photo by Jimmy Smith)

“Feathers are nice Lacy, but you need golden airfoils”: Cartoon by Weston Emmart ’44, former Loyola newspaper cartoonist (photo by Jimmy Smith)

 Rodney Floyd, Loyola's first recruited African-American men's basketball player (photo by Jimmy Smith)

Rodney Floyd, Loyola’s first recruited African-American men’s basketball player (photo by Jimmy Smith)

 1975-76 Loyola Maryland men's basketball team (photo by Jimmy Smith)

1975-76 Loyola Maryland men’s basketball team (photo by Jimmy Smith)

 1,000 point Loyola scorer Jim Lacy, Jr. vs. Seton Hall Hall of Famer Bobby Wanzer in 1947 (photo by Jimmy Smith)

1,000 point Loyola scorer Jim Lacy, Jr. vs. Seton Hall Hall of Famer Bobby Wanzer in 1947 (photo by Jimmy Smith)

 Former Loyola athletic director Emil George "Lefty" Reitz, Jr. (photo by Jimmy Smith)

Former Loyola athletic director Emil George “Lefty” Reitz, Jr. (photo by Jimmy Smith)

Reitz himself inspired such loyalty from Loyola students and alumni that when ABC Wide World of Sports anchor Jim “McKay” McManus ’43, Loyola’s former sports editor and court announcer, was asked to chair a fundraising committee for Loyola’s new field house, he responded, “I’ll do it only if it is named after Lefty Reitz.” In 1983, under McKay’s leadership, Loyola alumni raised the money to build Reitz Arena; one year later, McKay introduced the starting line-ups at the opening men’s basketball game against fellow Jesuit team, the Holy Cross Crusaders.

Reitz’s vision for Loyola athletics was finally realized when a young Tom O’Connor became coach of the men’s basketball team in 1974, then led the efforts for Loyola to enter Division I of the NCAA as athletic director from 1976-1986. But more important, O’Connor was a leader for student-athletes and understood the importance of leading a life of service off the court. He said, “Being a student-athlete at Loyola is a privilege, not an entitlement. The way you conduct yourself in the classroom and on the basketball court should be seen as an example to the student body you are representing.”

Loyola’s basketball program has thrived over the years by challenging bigger schools such as Villanova, Georgetown, University of Maryland and Seton Hall, and competed for bragging rights with local rivals Mount St. Mary’s, Towson University, Catholic University, University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Baltimore. The history of Loyola’s program is chronicled in the book, Running with the Greyhounds, A Century of Loyola Maryland Basketball History (Dovedale Publishing).

In an excerpt from his foreword to Running with the Greyhounds, legendary basketball coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member Morgan Wootten said, “This remarkable history of Loyola Maryland’s basketball program is a gem that should be treasured by anyone interested in histories of basketball, the development of college basketball in Baltimore and Maryland, the impact of a Jesuit education and the Loyola Greyhounds.”

To order your copy of Running with the Greyhounds, visit or contact author Jimmy Smith:

By Kelly Klubert, Executive Director of Alumni & Communications, Wheeling Jesuit University

Kayce Krucki (Photo by Wheeling Jesuit University)
Kayce Krucki (Photo by Wheeling Jesuit University)


Most people recognize Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) students Haley Kindall and Kayce Krucki for their exploits on the volleyball court. But to children in Guatemala and Tanzania, they are the women who built classrooms at an orphanage, taught them English and painted their fingernails.

For Kindall and Krucki, the Jesuit motto of ‘service to others’ is more than a phrase—service to others is how they live each day.

When Kindall and Krucki talk about winning the NCAA Division II volleyball national championship last December, you can hear the excitement in their voices. But the same is true when they describe their summer 2015 service trips—the two smile from ear to ear, sharing stories about the young people who “impacted our lives as much as we did theirs.”

Krucki, an athletic training major from Findlay, Ohio, and two friends left last summer to spend a month at an orphanage in Tanzania. While the group stayed at a host home, their days were spent teaching English to children between the ages of 3 and 11.

“They have the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met. The kids don’t have any of the same opportunities I have. We take school, sports, books and basic necessities for granted and for them, those things are a big deal,” says Krucki.

The trip impacted Krucki and her friends so much that they decided to ‘adopt’ an 11-year-old boy from the orphanage. The three friends are donating money each year, which pays for the boy’s tuition to attend a secondary school. They also send him money for clothes and supplies throughout the year.

“Most of these kids don’t have parents. Once they hit the age of 12, if they don’t have the money to attend secondary school, they are on their own and must find a job,” Krucki explains. Attending secondary school not only provides the children with an education, but meals too—something many of the children don’t receive at home.

Haley Kindall (Photo by Wheeling Jesuit University)

Haley Kindall (Photo by Wheeling Jesuit University)


As part of her church group, Kindall, a business marketing major from Westerville, Ohio, traveled to a small community in Guatemala last summer. For the past 14 years, members of Northside Fellowship Church have spent a portion of each summer working at an orphanage sponsored by the church. 

Last summer was Kindall’s first service trip with Northside Fellowship. She spent her days teaching Bible school, holding prayer and soccer outreach, and building classrooms at the orphanage. She bonded deeply with her students, one of whom made a particularly deep impression.

She says, “I just fell in love with this 12-year-old boy. He works full-time to help support his family. He makes very little money and one day he showed up and gave me some candy, which he had for his snack. He has nothing, but he went out of his way to give me some candy. I couldn’t believe it.”

Poverty, says Kindall, is the one thing there is a lot of in Guatemala. “What I found most surprising was the living conditions the families have. One family had eight people living in one room. We would see kids day after day and they would be in the same clothes. You don’t realize all that you have until you see what others don’t have. It really put things in perspective for me,” says Kindall.

WJU women’s volleyball coach Christy Benner says she’s not surprised that her two players make service to others a part of their lives. Service, she says, is a part of who they are.

“Haley and Kayce both strive to be better people in every aspect. They are very outgoing young ladies, with huge hearts, who have a deep love for children. I know their service trips made an important impact in their lives. I am proud of them for giving back and enriching, not only others’ lives, but their own,” says Benner. 

Kindall’s and Krucki’s love for children is evident in two anecdotes they shared from their trips. One day, Kindall introduced some of the girls in her village to nail polish. “They had never had their nails polished before. I couldn’t believe how excited they were,” she says.

Krucki recalls the day she pulled out a bottle of bubbles. “The kids went crazy. They never saw anyone blow bubbles before. It proved to me how much we take for granted.” 

What was one of the greatest takeaways from the trip? “Little kids’ hugs,” Kindall says with a big smile. “They are the best.”