Making an impact on the local community is a responsibility the Holmes Community College Bulldogs soccer teams and coaches do not take lightly. These young men and women, under the direction of Head Coach Matt Convertino, Men's Associate Head Coach Ousmane Coulibaly and Women's Associate Head Coach Wesley Noble, take pride in the community service they provide and the difference they make off the soccer field.
The Bulldogs, as representatives of the college, have served in a number of capacities since the end of the 2018 soccer season. During the spring of 2019, they served at the Ronald McDonald House of Jackson, at Madison-Ridgeland Academy (MRA), on campus during Spring Fling, at the Run Up for Downs 5K and at the City of Ridgeland Easter Egg Hunt.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mississippi (RMHC MS), located on the University of Mississippi Medical Center's campus, serves as a home-away-from-home for 16 families who have children receiving specialized medical care at Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital. Each year, the players provide and serve dinner to the families and patients at the Ronald McDonald House while interacting with the residents, and this year they served on March 19.
The next community engagement involved assisting with child safety at MRA kindergarten carpool. The soccer players helped the children get out of the vehicles and get safely to the sidewalk the week of March 25-28. That same week, the Bulldogs also served sno-cones to their fellow students and staff members during the Holmes Ridgeland Campus Spring Fling on March 26.
Keeping the momentum going, the players laced up their sneakers and hit the pavement to support adults and children with special needs on Saturday, March 30. A handful of players, along with Coach Convertino, participated in the 7th Annual Run Up for Downs 5K Race and Walk at the Madison Healthplex; an event which raises awareness and supports disability awareness. All proceeds from the event went toward building The Lily Pad Cafe which will employ and train young adults with special needs. Sophomore Juan Rodriguez finished the run second place overall and sophomore Jazmin Alicia Roman finished third in her age group.
Finally, on April 19, the Lady Bulldogs assisted the City of Ridgeland with their annual community Easter Egg Hunt, which was held in conjunction with this year's Kid's Fest. The players helped distribute and hide the eggs, interacting with families and children in attendance.
"We have always tried to reinforce the idea that playing soccer here at Holmes Community College is about more than just wins and losses," Coach Convertino said. "As a coaching staff, we are trying to not only build better players, but better people as well."
Community service is a meaningful part of Holmes Athletics and the mission of all 10 of the college's teams. Bulldogs are leaving their mark on their local communities, and it goes way beyond success on the field.
"We hope these service projects have shown our student-athletes how to be leaders in the community and help others," Coach Convertino said.
For more information about the Holmes soccer program, contact Coach Convertino at email@example.com or (601) 605-3412.