Beaver Athletes and Others Give Back to the Community

The entire BVU men’s basketball team and, more recently, the BVU softball team, have partnered with BV Buddies, a mentoring program for area youth.

Several members of the Buena Vista University community are volunteering their time and service to a variety of causes and initiatives this fall.

This includes the entire BVU men’s basketball team and many others who are actively involved with BV Buddies, a mentoring program where BVU students are matched with middle school youth throughout the academic year. As part of the program, BVU students meet with their mentees on a weekly basis and engage in activities such as helping with homework, cooking, sports activities, crafts, and more. 

The basketball team’s involvement with the program came about last year when former BVU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Brian Van Haaften approached Angie Woodford, who is the coordinator of STARS Mentoring in Storm Lake. 

“Serving others is fulfilling, and it’s a great feeling to see the impact you’ve made on someone else’s life.”

Tawney Schreier

“The basketball team was an awesome addition to the program since we often struggle to get enough men to mentor and accommodate area youth,” says Tawney Schreier, who graduated from BVU in 2018 and is now leading the BV Buddies program through the Iowa Campus Compact AmeriCorps Program. 

After Coach Van Haaften’s resignation in March, the new men’s basketball team coaching staff was eager to continue the team’s involvement in BV Buddies.

“When our new coaching staff was presented with an established program to be mentors to local youth we jumped on it immediately,” says BVU Assistant Men's Basketball Coach Matthew Dickman. “The thought of creating a lasting impact on a child’s life in a one-on-one scenario is invaluable to that child as well as our players.”
More recently, the entire BVU softball team signed up to be mentors in the program. The team’s involvement came about when Ida Rogers-Ferguson, who is a member of the BVU softball team and is a student coordinator for BV Buddies, proposed the idea to BVU Head Softball Coach Mandie Berneking.

“We are ecstatic to have the softball team commit,” says Schreier. “It’s very important to make good matches for the youth on the waiting list, and having a team commit allows us to do that. The softball team has some great students who are definitely going to make a positive impact in the lives of the youth they’ll serve.”

Schreier says the mentees aren’t the only ones impacted by the program. “BVU students who have truly committed to the program leave feeling changed and like they’ve made a difference. Many of our mentors are sad to go at the time of graduation because of the positive experiences they’ve had.”

BVU students, faculty, staff, and alumni also had the opportunity to give back during Homecoming as part of BVU’s inaugural Beaver Boardwalk event. There, the group assembled more than 100 hygiene packages for the Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault (CAASA) in Storm Lake. CAASA has locations across Iowa and is a non-profit agency providing free and confidential services to victims of sexual violence. 

“Service allows individuals to grow their mindset and skills,” adds Schreier. “Serving others is fulfilling, and it’s a great feeling to see the impact you’ve made on someone else’s life.”