Morningside student-athletes participated in a wide variety of community service projects during the college’s 2016 “Into the Streets” event.

Members of the Mustang women’s golf team helped out at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center during Morningside’s 2016 “Into the Streets” community service day.

Morningside wrestlers cleaned windows at the Sioux City Public Museum’s Peirce Mansion.

By Madison Hoff
Morningside College Student

Each year Morningside College’s student-athletes dive “Into the Streets” and the Sioux City community by participating in a school-wide event that calls them to serve their city. On October 5, approximately 450 of Morningside’s student-athletes stepped outside of the classroom, donned their work jeans, and joined their fellow classmates in a day of community service.

Morningside’s chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) organized the 10th annual “Into the Streets” event, which gives various athletic teams the chance to perform hands-on work in the community, including assisting teachers and senior citizens, cleaning, landscaping, and packing food as they serve schools, retirement homes, nonprofits, and many more organizations in the Sioux City area.

Tracy Gates, a senior from Escondido, Calif., and a member of the Morningside swimming team, was one of the major organizers for this year’s event.

Instead of kicking their legs through the water, the Mustang swimming team laced up their tennis shoes and logged 23,100 minutes of walking with Liberty Elementary School’s students as a part of the Healthiest State Initiative. The wrestling team put their stamina to good use by cleaning and doing maintenance work at various sites, including Whitfield United Methodist Church, the Sioux City Public Museum, and the Peirce Mansion.

Some of the members of the cheer and dance squad stuffed envelopes for the Children’s Miracle Network, while others rode the city busses conducting surveys for the Sioux City Transit Center. The remaining members spent the day cleaning at Unity Point Health.

“Community service is important because you get to experience things you might not on a regular basis, and it makes you appreciate things in life that you have,” said Alexis Wise, a senior from Council Bluffs, Iowa, and a member of the Mustangs’ cheer team.

The Mustang men’s and women’s soccer teams served the young and the old. The men spent their time at the Floyd House-Assisted Living Concepts, Inc., Holy Spirit Retirement Home, and Riverside Elementary School, while the women served the Friendship House, Mary Elizabeth Child Care, and the Sioux City Gospel Mission.

The men’s basketball team worked hard landscaping and cleaning gravestones at Woodbury Township Cemetery. Players from the four-time NAIA Division II National Championship women’s basketball team went to Morningside Elementary, where they assisted lessons and classroom activities, made copies, assembled and stapled papers, and worked with students in STEM projects.

“Community service is very important not only for teams to be a part of, but everybody in society,” said Lauren Lehmkuhl, a junior women’s basketball player from Wakefield, Neb. “It not only leaves a lasting impact on us, but with the people that we helped.”

Clearly, this beloved annual event holds intrinsic and extrinsic value for all involved.

As the bowling team did cleanup work for Camp High Hopes, the men’s and women’s tennis teams traded their rackets for cleaning rags and washed Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation’s windows and gift shop area.

A few miles away, the women’s volleyball team was busy packing food for the Food Bank of Siouxland, working with students at North Sioux Elementary School, and sorting through donated clothing for children at the Boys and Girls home.

“Community service brings my teammates and I closer together by being outside of the school realm and court setting to see how we are off the court and how we interact with others,” said Braden Hall, a senior men’s volleyball player from Fairbanks, Alaska.

Hall worked side-by-side with his teammates as they spent their time with the students at Sergeant Bluff-Luton Primary school.

The men and women on the golf team left the links and hit the trails, cleaning them and arranging pumpkins for a children’s event at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, while the softball team cleaned up at Casa de Paz, Bridges West Center for Siouxland, and Brookdale Senior Living Community. Meanwhile, the track and cross country teams distributed flyers around Sioux City for City Hall, landscaped at Morningside Lutheran Church, cleaned toys at the Sioux City Art Center, and restored beauty to the Mary Treglia Community House.

Members from Morningside’s baseball team served the community by assisting the teachers at Loess Hill Elementary School and interacting with the students.

“Ultimately, God calls us to serve those around us,” said Nolan Hoff, a senior baseball player from Walnut, Calif. “Sports are about turning us into better people, and events like ‘Into the Streets’ allows us to prove our character off the field.”

Morningside’s student-athletes have displayed their excellence on the playing field. However, they contribute much more than trophies and awards. “Into the Streets” affords a platform for Mustang athletes to display their character and their love for the city and school they represent so proudly.

Members of the Morningside volleyball team packed food for the Food Bank of Siouxland.