Ladyjacks Lend a Hand in Arkansas
Sept. 5, 2005
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack soccer team brought back a championship trophy from its weekend trip to Jonesboro, Ark. The Ladyjacks left something else there in return.
Competing in Arkansas State's Lady Indian Invitational, SFA defeated Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday and Arkansas State on Sunday. But on Saturday, the Ladyjacks squared off against some of the problems facing evacuees displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the storm that traced a path of destruction through three gulf-coast states last week.
Jonesboro, a town of over 55,000 people, is the largest city in northeast Arkansas. An article appearing in the Jonesboro Sun over the weekend reported that hundreds of evacuated families had already arrived in town and that as many as 2,000 total evacuees were expected. On SFA's day off Saturday, head coach Jaime Frias took his squad to visit the Jonesboro shelter for hurricane evacuees.
"There were many families there from New Orleans," Frias said. "We talked to them, and they told us their stories. Most of them said they were concerned about their children. They didn't want their kids to be traumatized by the whole experience, so they were trying to make it as much like a vacation as possible."
The Ladyjacks did what they could to help. Frias and his players spent a few hours Saturday afternoon playing with the children and visiting with their families. If nothing else, Frias said, his team helped distract the evacuees from their situation.
"We played games with the kids while their parents were doing paper work and making some phone calls they needed to make," the coach said. "It was a good experience for the girls. I think it made them feel good that they could give something back in their own little way."
The Ladyjacks will be giving back a little bit more this weekend. Frias is encouraging the families of his players to help out this week by raising money or supplies to aid in the relief effort. On Saturday, the Ladyjacks will go to the local hurricane evacuee shelter and distribute whatever donations they can collect.
-- SFA --