Inside L&C’s Adopt An Athlete Program

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A team is more than just a randomly assembled group of people, eventually it becomes like a family united in a common goal.

 In high school, sports teams are made up members of the same or surrounding schools, most of whom have known each other their entire lives. In college, that is not always the case. Many students continue their education away from home, at least temporarily, leaving the lives they knew behind.

Lewis and Clark  wanted to provide a more stable environment for its athletes, that’s where a sort of “adoption” process came into play.

“The intention was to provide some of our athletes, especially those from other parts of the country or other countries, with an additional support network and to help some of them deal with homesickness,” said Vice President of Student Engagement, Sean Hill.

“The goal of the adopt-an-athlete program is to contribute to the increased well-being and academic success of our student-athletes by pairing them with caring LC faculty and staff.”

Adopt An Athlete is less about sports and is more personal than that, this program helps build lasting relationships. Currently 13 athletes are involved and that number continues to grow.

“Overall, I think the reaction to the program has been positive,” said Hill.  “Positive testimonials from some program participants has led to additional interest by LC faculty and staff.”

For a look into  the program, I spoke with Ivana Kovacev of the Lady Trailblazers basketball team, originally of Serbia.

“Life in Serbia hasn’t always been so great. People in Serbia went through a lot, We had wars going on with our neighbor countries, a lot of corrupt politicians, and it all resulted as a poor country, that can not offer a lot to a college student,” Kovacev said.

“Personally, I always had a wish to study abroad, and basketball is the main thing that made it happen.  There was this girl from Serbia that I know, and that played in a club that I played in. She went to the States before me, played basketball, and got a college degree,” she said.

“I was still in a search for a school last spring,when I realized that she might help me finding a school that was right for me, so I decided to contact her. She connected me with my coach, Jaron Young, and that is how it all started.”

The family that Ivana was eventually matched are now some of her biggest supporters, and a real stability network.

“I don’t know about other athletes in the AAA program, but I was lucky to get a great family. I was adopted by the Brantley family, and I can’t say nothing but the best about them. They are a great family, that comes to all of my home games, support me and is always there for me, and there is nothing else I can ask for.”

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