May 05, 2011

Softball game to benefit Haitian school children

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A softball game between the Carbondale police and fire departments this weekend will assist fundraising efforts for school supplies in earthquake-stricken Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The “Guns and Hoses” charity softball game is a class project by journalism students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The game is set for 2 p.m., Saturday, May 7, at the University’s intramural softball fields at 1545 Evergreen Drive. To get to the fields, go south on Douglas Drive between the SIU Arena and the College of Engineering and the College of Applied Sciences and Arts for about one mile, past the SIU Safety Center, and turn left onto Evergreen Drive.

Admission is free, but raffle tickets will be sold for $1. More than 30 items that range from gift cards to local stores, gym memberships, oil changes, and a cooler cart will be raffled off between innings.

Proceeds will go to the “Outreach to Haiti” effort, a successor organization to Haitian Ministries, a humanitarian organization that has worked in Haiti on a variety of projects for more than 25 years.

Earlier this year, members of the University community and faculty within the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts became involved in a weeklong fundraising effort to assist in equipping a student resource center in Port-au-Prince. The Jan. 12, 2010, magnitude 7.0 earthquake killed an estimated 230,000 people, left 300,000 injured and more than 1.5 million displaced. The earthquake also destroyed most schools.

Uche Onyebadi, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism, met with students in Vicki Kreher’s advertising copywriting class earlier this semester. Students Molly Roberts and Samantha O’Donnell spearheaded the event with assistance from James Wood.

Roberts is a senior from Champaign; O’Donnell is a senior from Lawrence, Kan.; and Wood is a junior from Matteson. All three are journalism majors with specializations in advertising.

Others in the class organized an intramural basketball and dodgeball tournament and decorated donation cans and placed them around campus and in Carbondale businesses, Kreher said. The donation canisters will be out until the middle of next week. There are 18 students in Kreher’s class.

Roberts said people involved with the project have been great.

“People have been cooperative and very willing to help,” she said.

Onyebadi is pleased with the level of the students’ commitment, noting that the event is just prior to the end of the semester and final exams.

“When I went to the class I was very surprised that people could devote their time to this,” he said. “They are very dedicated and wanted to do it.”

Kreher, an assistant instructor in the School of Journalism, said her class was thrilled when Onyebadi approached them with the opportunity.

“Employers and graduate schools look for students who have taken opportunities to apply what they have learned,” she said. “While students should seek internships and work experience related to their fields of interest, we can challenge them with ‘live’ projects in the classroom.”

Onyebadi said that additional fundraising events are under consideration for the fall 2011 semester. Tax-deductible donations made out to “Haiti School Fund” can be sent to the SIU Credit Union, 1217 W. Main St., Box 2888, Carbondale, Ill., 62902.