Hammering for the homeless

Sept 24, 2009
BY Matt Welch Staff Writer

PLANO -- Very much akin to the unity shown by the Plano Senior volleyball team on the court, the Lady Wildcats recently utilized their teamwork in a different way.

And it involved sporting a tool belt and a hard hat.

Working through a clout of rainfall, the Lady Wildcats partook in what is becoming an annual tradition for the team, devoting a recent Saturday to working with Habitat for Humanity to help build housing for families in Collin County.

“It’s a good experience for these kids to get out and see that people need help and then want to help them,” said Jennifer Cron, Plano head coach. “All the girls really enjoyed going up there and actually doing work … It’s good to get out there and do physical work for other people.”

A stark change of pace, the Lady Wildcats traded in their kneepads for a hammer and nails, and went to work on an establishment located along Avenue H. Splitting into two groups, Cron said one contingent helped build a shed while the others aided in constructing side walls to help apply to the frame of a house.

“They had us nailing boards and lifting up trusses,” said Morgan Salerno, senior setter. “They have us doing anything the regular adults are, except for using the power drills, since we’re not 18.”

Despite dealing with inclement weather throughout the workday, senior defensive specialist Kristen Niethamer said the opportunity to give back to the community was all the incentive she and the team needed.

“We like doing it,” she said. “It’s really fun because we get to meet the homeowners and help build their house … We like to help the community and it was good for volleyball.”

While finagling through a tool belt or steadying a nail for a hammer may not be a regular work habit for the typical high school volleyball player, Cron said the girls enjoyed the opportunity. It’s an experience that the Lady Wildcats have become a bit familiar with as well.

“We’ve done this for the past two years,” Salerno said. “This year, it was in the rain, so we had to work through a little bit of water … We’re hoping to do it again next year and start to make it a tradition.”

Cron said as long as her girls continue to enjoy the work, there’s no reason the community involvement won’t continue down the road.

“The kids really enjoy it,” she said. “So we’ll keep working with Habitat when possible, and when it works out with our schedule and theirs.”

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