Mustang football players Ethan Stofferan (left) and Justin Berkey helped out at Camp Good Will during Morningside’s Into the Streets community service day.

Approximately 450 Morningside College student-athletes went “Into the Streets” and participated in a variety of community service projects on Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Morningside’s eighth annual Into the Streets day of community service is organized by the college’s chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), a national leadership honor society, and gives student groups and teams an opportunity to volunteer at almost 80 different locations in the Sioux City area.

The participants performed a variety of service work, including cleaning, painting, yard work, reading to elementary school children, and working with the elderly for a large number of non-profit organizations.

The Mustangs’ wrestling team, four-time winners of the NAIA’s Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Award, sent all 32 squad members to Whitfield United Methodist Church, where they cut trees, raked the property, picked up trash, cleaned the sanctuary, dusted the pews, vacuumed the floor and seat paddings, scrubbed the dining, kitchen and community areas, and moved furniture.

Grace United Methodist Church was the beneficiary of cleaning work from members of the Mustangs’ men’s and women’s bowling teams, while other team members helped with filing and stuffing letters at Beyond the Bell.

“For me, this was absolutely a great experience,” said Austin Naylor, a sophomore from Wyoming, Mich., on the Mustangs’ bowling team. “I loved how our team was able to help an organization and a church that do great things for our community, plus it was a bonding experience for our team.”

“Into the Streets is a great event because it gives our team an opportunity to be involved with our community,” said Chelsey Van Ness, a sophomore from Denison, Iowa, on Morningside’s women’s basketball team, the recipient of the NAIA’s 2014 Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Award for Division II Women’s Basketball.

Van Ness helped with cleanup work at Special Troopers Adaptive Riding School (STARS) Inc., an organization that helps improve the well-being of individuals with physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, or social challenges through therapeutic horseback riding, canine services, and other animal-assisted activities. Other members of the Mustangs’ women’s basketball team, a perennial NAIA national title contender, went to Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community Schools to assist in the class rooms.

Morningside’s baseball team sent a group of 40 players to Loess Hills Elementary School to read to students, fix desks, assist on the playgrounds, and other tasks. Their efforts were organized by former Mustang baseball player Jeff Gacke, who now teaches at the school.

The Mustang men’s and women’s tennis teams helped out at Washington Elementary School and Morningside’s new men’s volleyball team, which will make its varsity debut this January, helped out at Bryant Elementary School.

Morningside’s swimmers helped move furniture at Mission of Messiah and raise funds for “Partners for Patriots,” a group that trains and provides service animals for disabled veterans. Mustang cheerleaders and golfers helped clean at Lamb Theatre and members of the Morningside dance team assisted at the Salvation Army. Area nonprofits such as Girls Inc., Camp Good Will, and the Sioux City Art Center among others all benefited from clean-up work from members of the Mustangs’ softball, men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, football, and men’s and women’s track and cross country teams.

Nicole Ausborn, a track & field junior from Nora Springs, Iowa, was one of a large number of Mustang student-athletes who did their service work at Camp Good Will.

“Working hard every day in practice is one thing, but working hard for something or someone else puts a new perspective on doing something from a team aspect,” said Ausborn.

Mustang softball players (from left) Emily Beadle, Savannah Hanlin, Jacey Ross, and Missy Morenz picked up trash at Sioux City’s Boys and Girls Home.