The Indiana Football Coaches Association has announced its 2021 Good Works team to recognize players, groups and entire teams who are committed to serving others. As determined by the IFCA, all of the nominees have “served in an extraordinary way and are huge representatives of the power of football to make a difference in our communities.”
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Here is the 2021 team of IFCA Good Works:
Alex Mendoza, Scecina
Mendoza has been involved in various community service programs including tutoring elementary and junior high school students through the Crispus Attucks Parent Student Teacher Association. He has also volunteered for “Keeping Indianapolis Beautiful” and participated in a leadership development program called “Project Mr.” for young men who live in the downtown area, sponsored by the Center for Leadership Development.
Elijah Edwards, East (Greentown)
Since he was 6, Edwards has helped the Greentown Lions Club pack, load and deliver food to needy families during the Christmas season, an annual event that delivers to over 200 families. He also volunteered for the Howard County United Way and spent several hours unloading trailers of children’s books, which were hauled, unloaded and organized on the shelves for the people of Howard County.
Caleb King, Westfield
King raised over $ 15,000 for Alex’s lemonade stand in an effort to fight childhood cancer. His own initiative, “Kicking it with Caleb”, has raised funds for every kick he has taken during the season. The Westfield team, school and community came together to support King’s cause.
The Fort Wayne Snider Team
The Snider soccer team participates in a service program throughout their four years of participation in the soccer program. Each class is twinned with a local service organization that they serve over their four years. The senior class trains first year students to take over the organization. Seniors and freshmen work with Erin’s House, a center for grieving families who have lost a family member or loved one. Second-year students volunteer for Vincent Village, an organization that works with local homeless families. Juniors attend with Turnstone, a facility that works with the physically disabled. While the service program, the goal is to provide players with the opportunity to experience what it’s like to help someone else throughout the calendar year.
The South Vermillion team
The team spent Saturday afternoons helping relocate a local pantry and work to clear brush and turn abandoned railroad tracks into walking trails. The Wildcats have worked to raise funds and awareness for children battling cancer through the Riley Hospital for Children and have led fundraising efforts through the sale of rally t-shirts, towels and of bracelets. The team also raised funds to offset the cost of precision genomic testing, which helps create a personalized cancer treatment plan.
The Valparaiso team
Players, managers and coaches served as course marshals and distributed food and water for the local 5K YMCA, volunteered to clean up a local golf course and park, and laid down gravel on 10 kilometers of cycle paths. The team collected 1,000 food items, art supplies, and sports supply collections for the local Hilltop House (Childcare center and pantry for families at risk). The team collected over 1,000 household items for domestic violence survivors at the Caring Place shelter and the players held a soccer skills camp for elementary school students.
The Goshen football program has served the Elkhart 4-H County Fair every summer for more than 25 years, one of the largest county fairs in the country. During the 10-day fair, soccer players and coaches get up every morning at 6 a.m. to clean up garbage in parking lots to help make a community event a success that has been a staple in County Elkhart for many years.
The Lowell team
The team hosts a team car wash every summer to raise money for Cops Cycling For Survivors. The group made an annual stop at Lowell to honor former Lowell football player and Merrillville Police Officer Nick Schultz, who was tragically killed while answering a call in 2014. The Red Devils make an annual contribution of 558 $ to commemorate Nick’s number and support Nick’s mom Colleen who has gone up every year.
The Jimtown team
The team cleaned the headstones of fallen soldiers at Rice Cemetery in Elkhart, which had not been cleaned in decades and some were completely unreadable. The Marines showed the team how to properly clean each headstone and told personal stories about service in the Army.
The Plainfield team
The team participated in the Hendricks County Summer Lunch Program, distributing lunches to local families at one of the city’s parks. In addition to helping distribute several hundred lunches, the players took the time to read, craft, throw the soccer ball and play cat with the children who came for lunch. The team has been involved in this group for over 15 years.
The Salem team
Lions have been involved in many service projects throughout the year, including cleaning up the city’s main park by painting, mulching, trimming and pulling weeds. The team went door to door to shovel driveways during the winter. The team improved safety at an elementary school by adding mulch to all play facilities. Lions also raised money for the Lions Club, loaded 2,500 Christmas boxes for delivery around the world in conjunction with a local church, and collected canned goods for a local food bank.
The Kokomo team
The Wildkats raised money for Susan G. Komen’s breast cancer awareness, soliciting donations and helping by selling pink t-shirts to raise funds. The players and coaches helped raise over $ 1,500 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The Southridge team
The Southridge team has been involved in service projects throughout the Southridge community, working with community youth at the Huntingburg Farmers Market. The team cleaned up the League stadium after the summer league baseball games, set up stands at a local church picnic, and distributed water to runners at the event Lexi Mattingly 5K. The players also trained flag football for young elementary school students on Mondays during the season.
Bishop Luers’ team
Athletes in the Luers Strength Training Program dedicated four hours of their time cleaning up trash and debris at one of the local community parks. The team moved all desks and tables to classrooms after summer disinfection and cleaning at a local elementary school. Several players have coached third to eighth grade football players after completing their own training. Each football player and manager is part of a school-wide service program that meets once a week to complete small projects and plan big fall service day projects and in spring.
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at 317-444-6649.