Women's Basketball Volunteers at Ronald McDonald House

Aug. 24, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Before getting the school year and their season underway, the UCF women's basketball players spent their Friday night at the Ronald McDonald House on the campus of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center in downtown Orlando.

The Knights brought, prepared, and served a dinner for the residents of the house. The dinner included spaghetti and meat sauce, salad, garlic bread, and cookies.

"I wanted to start the year off showing them it is important to give back to the community," said head coach Joi Williams. "I think a lot of times student-athletes go through a rigorous schedule and get caught up in a 'poor me' attitude. The purpose of this was to show them how lucky and blessed they are. That is part of the growth and maturity process, realizing there is so much more beyond basketball."

In working together to prepare the meal, the players felt that they grew as a team and learned some valuable lessons to use as they go through the upcoming year, both on and off the court.

"Being able to come here was a good experience because we were able to bond not only with each other, but also with the families that are here going through tough times in their lives," sophomore Jasmine Stovall said of the experience. "These people are willing to fight through hard times, and it shows us that when we are down in a game we can fight as a team to pull through together."

The players and coaching staff also had the opportunity to tour the facility, learn more about the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and interact with some of the current residents.

"I felt it was important to come here, and I was honored that our team was chosen to come help others in their time of need," said freshman Ashia Kelly. "I think it is very important to give back to the community because that is where it all starts. It gives you some perspective that there is more to life than the hardships of basketball, and seeing people in need pushing through inspires us to push on."

The Ronald McDonald Houses of Orlando were built to help take some of the stress out of a trying situation. One house is located on the campus of Florida Hospital and is just a short walk from the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute. The other is located on the campus of Arnold Palmer Medical Center.

Both serve as a "home-away-from-home" providing sick children with a warm and peaceful place to stay. Each family has a bedroom of their own, equipped with a comfortable bed, a family-style kitchen for a home-cooked meal, and laundry facilities for their personal use.

"I got some great compliments from the residents of the house," Williams said. "It makes me feel proud that they acted respectful and interacted well with the people here. I am really proud of them, but I am always proud of the way they carry themselves out in the public."

For more information about the Ronald McDonald House program, please call (407) 206-0957 or log on to www.rmhccf.org.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.