Along with their commitment to protecting the rights of athletes and the integrity of sport, many members of the USADA staff are dedicated to serving their communities through volunteer work with diverse organizations and causes. USADA also supports this effort through its Volunteer Program, which gives full-time staff members 25 hours of volunteer leave every year to use at the organization of their choosing.
In recent months, two USADA staff members have been volunteering with organizations in the Colorado Springs community.
A longtime educator and current TrueSport and Olympic Education Director at USADA, Dr. Jennifer Royer has spent the last year serving as a mentor for one of her former students as she prepares for her mission trip with World Race: Gap Year. World Race is an international organization with a Gap Year program that allows newly graduated high school students to focus on missional living while contemplating their next steps in life. Participants serve in different regions of the world and spend their time completing various tasks for the communities they’re living in.
Jennifer’s mentee will leave this fall for her nine-month mission trip, during which she will live among impoverished communities on three continents to serve the needs of some of the most vulnerable populations on the planet and share her faith. This journey requires a tremendous amount of personal preparation in advance of the trip, including research on the communities, as well as a concentrated self-evaluation of strengths, leadership capabilities, and areas of growth.
“It has been such a rewarding experience to partner with this young woman as she finds the courage to identify her fears, weaknesses, and opportunities for excellence,” explains Jennifer. “She leaves in about a month and I can’t wait to see the impact her compassion and investment in others will have.”
CASA of the Pikes Peak Region
On a beautiful Saturday morning in June, USADA Education Manager Tammy Hanson and Content Manager Averi Walker headed to Santa’s Workshop, North Pole. But this North Pole was in Colorado, where hundreds of children were also headed to enjoy rides and attractions at the Christmas-themed amusement park. Tammy, Averi, the children, and their care givers were headed there for the North Pole Event, an annual gathering hosted by CASA of the Pikes Peak Region to give foster kids a chance to forget about their situation for a day and just be kids.
“There is no better feeling than giving my time to an organization that serves the needs of these amazing kids,” notes Averi. “It was obvious that this event brought joy to them and their foster families.”
Outside of this event, CASA is a nonprofit organization that prepares volunteers to protect and represent the best interests of children who’ve experienced child abuse, neglect, and severe domestic conflict. CASA also strives to ensure that children are placed in “safe, loving homes where they can thrive.”
For the event, Tammy and Averi joined other volunteers in welcoming children and their foster families to Santa’s Workshop, where many of the children would experience a rollercoaster or ride for the first time. The volunteers provided participants with wristbands, lunch tickets, and even temporary tattoos as guests checked in before entering the park.
“As with most volunteer opportunities, I certainly felt like I received more than I gave,” says Tammy. “It was magical to see the joy on the kids’ faces as they expressed what they were most excited to see that day.”