South Carolina student-athletes are accustomed to engaging in community service efforts during their careers in the garnet and black, and that foundation leads some to continue those efforts even after they’ve graduated. Former women’s basketball student-athlete Jewel May (2007-11), who is now an academic advisor at South Carolina, is one of those who continues to be active and is spearheading an effort to help victims of domestic abuse.
“This is the third year that we’ve done it, and this year we’re partnering with Sister Care, which is a local facility that advocates for victims of domestic abuse,” May said. “We’re doing a purse drive where we want to stuff purses with donated items, whether it’s toiletries or goodies or anything that people will need.”
Purses and/or items to put in the purses can be brought to May’s office at the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center located at 1320 Heyward Street in Columbia before December 15.
“We’re also using ‘GoFundMe’ page so people could donate a few dollars, and afterwards, we’ll use that money to purchase items,” May said.
Whether you are doing community service because it is strongly encouraged as a student-athlete, or if you’re doing it on your own, there is something you gain from those experiences.Jewel May
May had posted a request on social media for anyone to suggest a worthwhile cause to support this year, and she received plenty of responses as the grassroots effort took off.
“It’s a collective effort,” May said. “I had started a Facebook group with a bunch of other former women’s basketball players, and others joined in, so now it’s this big group. It’s a grassroots effort, and it’s grown each time.”
May noted that she and her fellow alumni normally prefer to remain anonymous, because it is more about the effort than who is behind it. In previous years the group has partnered in Columbia with Oliver Gospel Mission, providing, care packages to the homeless as well as the Transitions Shelter, donating bags of toiletries and blankets to the facility.
“It’s a good time of year to do this because people’s hearts are probably a little more open since it is the holidays,” May said. “As student-athletes, we were sort of transplants in the community. A lot of us weren’t from here, but the community supports you throughout your career here, which is pretty cool. So why not give back to the same community that you became a part of and welcomed you? There are always people who need help.
“Whether you are doing community service because it is strongly encouraged as a student-athlete, or if you’re doing it on your own, there is something you gain from those experiences. It’s so easy to participate. There are lots of different ways to help.”