New club achieves more than just a few kicks

David Ievoli is freshman at Castleton and founder of one of the college’s new Hacky Sack club.
But why is the Spartan featuring     a Hacky Sack Club on its pages? You might try asking the several hundred underprivileged individuals this group just helped.
This past fall, Ievoli and his club began collecting gently used shoes to give to; a California non-profit organization that assists schools, churches and businesses in organizing shoe drives. The family-run program works to provide shoes to needy people across the globe.
The Castleton effort began shortly     after the Hacky Sack Club was made official in early October and concluded on Valentines Day. The club, Ievoli said, was initially met with a little skepticism.
“At first they didn’t take it seriously and questioned if we were just going to hacky sack all day,” said Ievoli. “I thought of it as more than that.”
The group started by setting up donation boxes across campus. But what originally began as just a small idea, quickly emerged into something much greater.
“In the back of my mind, I always said we wanted to get involved with the community,” Ievoli said. “I never imagined what it became.”
Soon club members found themselves expanding their cause to the greater Castleton Community, including paying a visit to local establishments like Citizens Bank.
“I go in there to use the bank all the time,” said Ievoli. “One day it just happened to come up that I was doing the shoe drive and they loved the idea.”
Then came the idea of merging the shoe drive with the college’s mentoring program.
 The club worked in tandem with senior Corrie Keener, the student head of the program at the time. Keener granted the club permission to send flyers home with the mentees and set up a box in the elementary school for faculty, parents and students to donate.
Finally, as a special treat,  Ievoli      arranged for his team to accompany the mentors on their scheduled Feb. 14 visit, where the club passed out hacky sacks for all of the mentees and taught the kids some of the finer points of the game.
“Everyone was smiling,” Keener said when asked about the day’s turnout. “The mentees loved the event and enjoyed donating shoes to a good cause. It was all around a great success.”
When asked about the reason behind investing so much time into a single cause, Ievoli smiled.
“I grew up with giving back, to the community, I’ve just loved to see people smile and be happy.”
By the end of the fundraiser, the Hacky Sack Club collected 14 large-sized boxes of shoes, roughly 100 pairs in all. As for the shipping, it was covered by the college’s financial committee.
So what is next for this civic-minded club? Ievoli was tentative when asked, but said the club hopes to work with the elementary school again soon, possibly hosting a fitness-oriented event for the mentees here at the college.
He also noted his club is always looking for new members to as he puts it “come kick it” and spread a passion for physical activity and giving back to the community.

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