The Stony Brook University women’s volleyball team traveled to Nicaragua and Panama over spring break 2016 to experience international competition, unique team-building opportunities and volunteer abroad.
The nine-day trip to Nicaragua and Panama exceeded the expectations of the student athletes and coaching staff alike. “This trip brought us closer as a team and changed the way we looked at life”, reflected junior outside hitter Melann Amory in a post trip interview.
Head coach Coley Pawlikowski had this to say about her teams experience in Central America, “Our recent trip to Nicaragua and Panama was the best experience that I have ever had with a team. I have been on several foreign trips with various teams and programs which all have been great, however the balance between community service, team building, volleyball, fun and being embedded in and embracing a different culture was really special.
We really were able to invest in the community and participated in the following activities as a group: visited two elementary/start up schools and worked hands on with children, worked with an organization for people with special needs that make tote bags for resale, visited a women’s co-op that produces jam in return providing a portion of the average $100.00 per month family salary locals live on, participated as mobile library delivering books and reading with children in tiny further out villages providing their only means to education, ran two volleyball clinics for local children, and visited an afternoon children’s program where each of us were paired with a student and read. We read to them in Spanish and they taught us, and in return they read to us in English and we helped them.
Seeing our student athletes so invested and gaining a whole new perspective was truly special to witness and something I will always cherish. Our girls personally connected with so many people and the impact on everyone involved resulted in memories that will last a lifetime.
My staff and I are incredibly proud of how our girls represented themselves, our program and Stony Brook University. Breaking down language barriers through kindness and compassion was incredibly fulfilling and we are proud. “
Watch the full interview on the Seawolves YouTube page here.