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    Wildcats Give Back During Holiday Season

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Members of the NU women's swimming and diving team have stayed busy by giving back to the Colorado Springs community during their training trip.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Members of the NU women's swimming and diving team have stayed busy by giving back to the Colorado Springs community during their training trip.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Dec. 21, 2011

    Photo GalleryTeamUSA.org: Northwestern swimming team uses OTC stay to join community

    EVANSTON, Ill. - In the spirit of the holiday season, Northwestern student-athletes and employees have been busy lending a helping hand to a variety of organizations in the Evanston area and around the country. In the month of December alone, members of NU athletics have donated more than 6,100 cans of food, raised money for the Salvation Army and spent time at the Ronald McDonald House, among many other community service activities.

    The NU women's swimming and diving team is currently in Colorado Springs, Colo., for a training trip but are spending time in the community when they're not in the pool. The team visited with family members of a patient in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Ronald McDonald House in Colorado Springs and also interacted with residents of the Skyline Wellness Facility, a residential and assisted living facility, during a big band concert.

    "This event was spectacular," associate head coach Nichole Ellis said. "The residents smiled and giggled and shared so many stories about being married 65 years, living in Chicago at one time and even one resident was a member of the Michigan State swimming team back in the early 1900's.

    "The real fun began when the music did. It was awesome; the energy, love and smiles were definitely a gift of the holiday season."

    Closer to home, the NU men's swimming and diving team volunteered as Salvation Army Bell Ringers at Evanston grocery stories to help raise money for families in need and members of the women's basketball and cross country teams took part in Dewey Elementary School's inaugural Dance Fundraiser. The women's basketball team also delivered gifts, sang carols and visited with residents at Albany Care, a facility dedicated to the treatment and recovery of individuals suffering from chronic mental illness.

    Northwestern athletic department employees also have been active in the community as the NU's Sports Performance staff volunteered at Toys for Tots as well as handed out food to families. NUDAR staff members also partnered with student-athletes from NU's 19 varsity programs for the annual SAAC Food Drive. This year, the Wildcats set a school record with more than 6,100 cans of food donated to Family Focus, a local family support center in Evanston, shattering the previous record of 5,700 set during last year's drive.

    "The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's annual food drive provides an opportunity for the entire Northwestern athletic department and the Evanston community to band together for a great cause," SAAC co-president Jonathan Harris of men's soccer said. "We at Northwestern realize how truly fortunate we are, and collecting food for those in need enables us to give back to our Evanston community."

    The Wildcats will continue to give back even after the holidays with the men's swimming and diving team's "Hour of Power" relay race on Dec. 31. Teams of 10-11 Wildcats will swim as many lengths in one hour as possible to raise money for the National Blood Clot Alliance.

    From the entire Northwestern Athletics family, we wish you and your families a happy and safe holiday season! For more information on Northwestern's community service efforts, visit the 'Cats Give Back section on NUsports.com.

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