BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 21 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts. The 2021 SEC Women’s Swimming & Diving Community Service Team is as follows:
Halia Bower, Junior, Alabama
Bower leads the Crimson Tide women’s team in community service hours. She has given of her time to Habitat for Humanity, the Crimson Tide’s Halloween Extravaganza, Night to Shine, Project Angel Tree as well as the Lee County Tornado Relief efforts. As a member of Alabama’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Bower also helps direct the Crimson Tide’s overall community service efforts. A two-year Honorable Mention CSCAA Scholar All-American, as well as a two-year member of Alabama’s NCAA Zone B and SEC Championship squad, Bower has been a fixture on the Dean’s List (3.5-or-better grade point average) throughout her Alabama career.
Maddie London, Sophomore, Arkansas
London completed an hour-long zoom chat with the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She did a video chat with Book Hogs at Holcombe Elementary. London also wrote four letters to Mercy Hospital front line workers. She was also able to write two letters to Elm Croft Assisted Living Center and to Providence Assisted Living Center. London collected items to donate to Battered Women’s Shelter. She made the Dean’s List in the Spring of 2020.
Emily Hetzer, Junior, Auburn
Currently in her third year at Auburn, Hetzer has found ways to get involved at the university and in the community. She is one of four representatives from the swimming and diving team on Auburn’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). As an officer, Hetzer has been instrumental in creating and implementing community engagement opportunities for Auburn student-athletes. She serves as assistant chairperson to the Community Engagement Chairperson. Prior to COVID, Hetzer volunteered along with her teammates to send cookies and cards to law enforcement and nursing homes. This past year, she was part of a group who sent cards to East Alabama Medical Center. Hetzer is a three-time CSCAA All-American, earning All-America honors in the 500 and 1650 freestyle as a sophomore last year. She was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2019.
Ellie Hatton, Junior, Florida
Hatton has accumulated more than eight hours of volunteer service during her time at the University of Florida. The junior has worked with Gators Tracks and has spent time at Shands Hospital. During her time at Shands, Hatton and fellow student-athletes visited pediatric patients who are awaiting treatment. During the visits, student-athletes would help patients focus on sharing stories, favorites, and sharing a laugh. Hatton also participated in the Fall Festival at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville. The Gators Tracks program is an angel tree program supported by student-athletes, coaches, and staff. With Gators Tracks, Hatton helped wrap and deliver shoes to over 450 children in the area. She spent time with a group of children to ensure that their shoes fit and would sit on the floor helping students work through tying their new shoes. Hatton was named to the 2020 SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Callie Dickinson, Junior, Georgia
Dickinson has been involved in a variety of community service activities during her time at Georgia. For two seasons, Dickinson has served as a team representative on the UGA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, working with the athletic administration on promoting the student-athlete experience and facilitating volunteer activities for student-athletes. She was also one of 25 student-athletes inducted last November into the UGA Student-Athlete Leadership (LEAD) Academy, allowing her to mentor younger student-athletes in their career development. She has also volunteered with the Athens Boys & Girls Club, providing support and encouragement to children in grades two through four in academic and physical activities, as well as Project Safe, a volunteer group that distributes clothing and books to vulnerable members of the community. This past fall, she began volunteering with the Crisis Text Hotline, working alongside social workers, therapists, and psychiatrists to assist individuals using the hotline to discuss relationship/family issues, abuse, and self-harm. Earlier in her Georgia career, she was a member of MEDLIFE (Medicine, Education, & Development for Low Income Families Everywhere) at UGA, volunteering with the Athens Area Food Bank and Homeless Shelter. In addition to her community work, Dickinson joined her teammates in participating in Swim Across America Atlanta in 2018 and 2019, raising funds to benefit Children Healthcare of Atlanta’s cancer research initiative. She also served as a coach at the 2019 Jack Bauerle Bulldog Swimming Camp, providing coaching and skill instruction for children ages 8 through 18, particularly with building endurance and strength. Dickinson was this season’s recipient of the Ramsey Scholarship for Academic & Athletic Excellence, following the B.W. “Bump” Gabrielsen Swimming Scholarship in her sophomore season. In 2020, she was named to the CSCAA All-America team for the 200 butterfly, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the event. She is a two-time member of the CSCAA Scholar All-America First Team. She has also been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll each season, as well as the J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Honor Roll each semester of her career, earning multiple placements on the Dean’s List and a spot on the Spring 2020 Presidential Scholars List (4.0 GPA). Following her freshman season, she was the recipient of the Beth Cuddeback Hardest Worker Award at the postseason team banquet.
Lauren Denham, Senior, Kentucky
Denham has accumulated more than 212 hours of community service in the three-and-a-half years as a student-athlete at the University of Kentucky. Her service activities range from making meals and doing chores at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass to crafting with senior citizens at the Hometown Manor Assisted Living. Most prominently, Denham has devoted more than 125 hours serving as a mentor at Amachi Central Kentucky, which aims to assist children affected by incarceration in achieving their highest potential by engaging them in consistent and committed mentoring relationships. Denham has had the privilege of mentoring the same young girl for two-and-a-half years, spending more than an hour a week with her doing homework, crafting, baking, and cooking, playing at the playground, and sharing laughter and life lessons. Another larger project Denham participated in was traveling to Harlan County, Kentucky, with a group of student-athletes, where she accumulated more than 30 hours cleaning bleachers, painting walls, helping children from a Harlan County school with school work, and playing sports with them in the school gym. Last season, Denham won the “Team Spirit” award, selected by the coaching staff and given to the individual who displays a continual, sincere interest in the team. Denham is also a three-year SEC Academic Honor Roll student.
Alexis Daniels, Senior, LSU
Daniels’ first community service project was calling bingo for Southside Gardens retirement home. She set up/called bingo, brought homemade chocolate chip cookies, and visited with residents. This was Daniels’ favorite project because the residents were always so happy to see her and would always tell her the best stories of when they were in college. Another community service project she was been involved in has been volunteering with her church in their nursery. She would lead Sunday school for second through fifth grades, where they would dance, sing, and learn about the bible. When Daniels had additional free time, she would take dogs at CAA for a walk and occasionally doing their laundry. During her college career, she has been involved with FCA, SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Committee), LSU Student Fan Council, and Pi Sigma Epsilon, a business fraternity. In SAAC, Daniels became the Events Executive, where she created events that would help the growth of a student athlete through mindfulness sessions and guest speakers. She has been a member of the Dean’s List.
Sarah Thompson, Senior, Missouri
Thompson has been an active member of the Columbia community over her four years at Mizzou. Most significantly, she volunteered over 20 hours of time with Columbia Parks and Recreation over the summer. Thompson also spent time with Swim Across America, Columbia Second Chance animal shelter, National Student-Athlete Special Olympic Day and volunteered at the Mizzou Youth Experience, VA Service Event, and the Soap Box Derby.
Caroline Spence, Senior, South Carolina
Spence has logged 100-plus hours of community service during the 2020-21 academic year. Along with several other student-athletes from other sports, she helped spearhead a backpack initiative project this past year as a part of a massive school supplies drive at W.G. Sanders Middle School in Columbia. It was a huge success with over 7,000 items donated as a part of the drive. The project’s goal was to provide a boost for educators and families who may be struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Spence also volunteered several times at Harvest Hope Food Bank and she helped make Christmas cards for kids at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital of the Midlands. She has volunteered and participated in a vast variety of service projects throughout her time as a Gamecock, including Dance Marathon, Relay for Life, Salvation Army, Epworth Children’s Home and Boo at the Zoo – a Halloween event for kids at Riverbanks Zoo helped put on by the Gamecock Club.
Emily Sykes, Senior, Tennessee
Sykes is on track to become just the second Tennessee student-athlete to receive the gold medal service medallion. She has currently logged over 200 hours of community service. Her volunteer work has included such organizations as; Knoxville Area Rescue Mission, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, UTK Future, Tennessee School for the Deaf, Koinonia Foundation and visiting and working with children at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Sykes is pursuing a minor in American Sign Language to go along with her major in Recreation/Sport Management – Therapeutic Recreation. She has been heavily involved with the FUTURE program at the University of Tennessee, working with children and adults with developmental disorders. Her numerous community service efforts include working with Camp Koinonia as a camp counselor. The program supports adults with Down syndrome. She was also a volunteer coach for the Montgomery County Special Olympics swimming team and is a member of the VOLeaders Academy. She is also involved with the Tennessee School for the Deaf and runs her own social media account teaching sign language to others. She aspires to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist to continue her passion of integrating people with disabilities into sport in their own communities.
Charlye Campbell, Senior, Texas A&M
Campbell has dedicated countless hours to volunteering with the Aggies CAN campaign, the largest student-athlete volunteer run canned food drive in the nation the gives back to people all over the Brazos Valley. She has also given her time with the Brazos Valley Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics Texas. Campbell traveled to Haiti with a group of Texas A&M student-athletes for a mission trip, displaying the Aggie Core Value of selfless service with Mission of Hope, Haiti. The group does work in communities helping them rebuild, but building, planting, and painting while getting to know the people they are helping. She has also served as a Traditions Night Huddle Leader and Fish Camp Counselor, helping acclimate incoming freshmen to the history and traditions at A&M. A team captain as a junior and senior, Campbell has served for multiple years as a team representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She has invested herself into leadership, participating in the Horizon’s Emerging Leader Course, while also serving as TAMU Green Team co-Vice President of Research. Campbell is a member of the Athletics Director and SEC Honor Rolls and has also been named a CSCAA Scholar All-American.
Whitney Brown, Junior, Vanderbilt
Brown’s commitment to community serves as an example for all of us. Among her volunteer services, she holds the position as Vanderbilt’s Dance Marathon Co-Director for Athletic Relations. In this role she leads, coordinates, and executes student-athlete involvement in the Vanderbilt Athletics Dancing Dores initiative. Whitney educates student-athletes about the Vanderbilt Dance Marathon and trains Dancing Dores team captains on how to create their team donor drives, provides fundraising ideas, and gives guidance for involvement and raising awareness. She coordinates virtual meetings between the Vanderbilt teams and their Miracle Families. In addition, she sits in Vanderbilt Dance Marathon leadership meetings across campus to ensure student-athletes are involved in the process. Prior to serving as co-Director, she hosted a Miracle Family and attended the 2020 Big Event for more than six hours. Brown has also volunteered at the NICU at Centennial Hospital and played bingo with pediatric patients at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Other volunteer roles have included the Ronald McDonald House, CIANA Virtual Tutoring, volunteer research, and numerous Vanderbilt Athletics community service events, including the Children’s Book Donation Drive, Holiday Party, Field Day, and Trick or Treat event benefitting local elementary schools, Hurricane Harvey Flood Drive, and the Soles4Souls Shoe Donation Drive.