Women's soccer junior Jane Wallis has been named GW's Community Service Athlete of the Month for November.
The Community Service Athlete of the Month award, a distinction which started this year, goes to the student-athlete who leads by example and who most impacts the GW and Washington communities through service.
"Jane is an excellent leader both on and off the field and she has been a fantastic role model for our team," first-year head women's soccer coach Sarah Barnes said. "Jane is committed to serving others and she understands the value of making an impact on others' lives."
A three-year member of the Grassroot Colonials Program, which partners with Georgetown and Howard to bring HIV/AIDS education to at-risk middle schools in the District of Columbia, Jane currently serves as the organization's Program Coordinator. Through Jane's leadership, the Grassroot program has seen membership more than double its participation from last year and GW students are now present in 10 middle schools across the District.
"We are not just there to teach about HIV/AIDS, but to help the kids understand that they have the ability to be resilient, make their own choices, and have the confidence to do so," said Wallis.
This past summer Jane, along with lacrosse sophomore Mackenzie Jones, cross country junior Jackson Carnes, and rowing senior Lauren Byrne, was chosen to become part of the Grassroot Leaders Team and was invited to attend a three-day national conference in Orlando, Fla., that consisted of intensive leadership training.
Most recently, Jane helped coordinate efforts for the Grassroot graduation, a ceremony to recognize the students' completion of the Grassroot program in the Colonials' Charles E. Smith Center.
"Jane's motivation and commitment to service in the first three months of classes, as well as during her soccer season, have helped transform this signature GW program," said Ted Costigan, GW Athletics Life Skills Coordinator.
George Washington's softball team walked together to become one of Autism Speak's top three donors for the organization's Walk Now event on Nov. 3, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Colonials raised $1,645 in donations for the Autism Speaks Walk that boasted over 9,000 participants.
Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization that works to increase awareness as well as raise funds for research and serve as a support service for individuals touched by autism. Autism Speaks holds "Walk Now" events across the country throughout the year in an effort to engage supporters, inform the population about autism, and bring together individuals touched by the cause in addition to raising funds.
The softball team's participation in the walk was spearheaded by sophomore catcher Samantha Dos Santos. The criminal justice major encouraged her teammates to show support and join a cause that touches her family. With a cousin who has autism and a family member who has created a non-profit organization - Puzzle Peace Now, which supports the costs of raising children with special needs - Dos Santos felt strongly about participating in the walk as a team.
"With my personal experience with autism, I feel that there is little societal awareness about the impact it has. Every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with autism, and it will affect both the child and his or her family for the rest of their lives," said Dos Santos.
Head coach Stacey Schramm was recently notified by Autism Speaks that her squad was one of the top three fundraising teams in this year's D.C. walk. While the coaching staff and administration were impressed by the team's efforts, no one was prouder than Dos Santos.
"I am so thrilled to be a part of GW softball, and so proud of my team for rallying behind the cause and raising an incredible $1,645," she said. "With every dollar raised more research can be conducted and programs are funded so a child has the opportunity to feel more comfortable in his or her own skin. Overall, the Autism Walk was a wonderful experience and we, as a team, feel extremely honored to be recognized by this amazing organization for our efforts."
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