The Rider University women's soccer team, in conjunction with Rider's program in Organizational Leadership, hosted a Spring Soccer Clinic for the Millhill Child and Family Development Center.
Thirty children ages four and five from the Millhill Center, a non-profit organization serving abused and neglected children in Trenton, attended the festivities on the Ben Cohen Field.
"Many of the children had never seen field turf or what they called 'magic grass'," said Rider head coach Drayson Hounsome.
"Each year, we try to do some charity work as a team," said Claire Thompson (East Greenwich, RI), a two-time MAAC All-Academic team member who will be a senior on the 2012 squad in the fall. "I think Coach feels it's important that we give back to the surrounding community in some way so we try to make some kind of philanthropic effort each year."
The clinic involved more than just soccer.
"Coach organized a Dora the Explorer themed clinic which the kids absolutely loved," Thompson said. "He was so great with them - who knew four and five year olds were his demographic?"
"This was a great way for our student-athletes to give back to children in our local community," Hounsome said, "as well as bring attention to all the hard work Millhill does for the children of Trenton."
"I think they were just so thrilled to be able to run around freely," Thompson said. "They had little interest in staying on the "soccer island." At the end of the clinic, they didn't want to leave and asked us if we would come visit them and told us they'd be back tomorrow."
The Millhill children were not the only ones to benefit from the experience of the clinic.
"It was such a rewarding experience to see how much fun they had," Thompson said. "It was all smiles and laughter the entire morning. A few of us even discussed looking into volunteer opportunities at Millhill. I think we had just as much fun as the kids."