IWLCA Recognizes 2023 Community Awareness Award Winners
Three student-athletes honored with individual awards and four teams recognized
The IWLCA announced Emma McLaughlin of George Washington University, Kate Winstanley of the University of Alabama Huntsville, and Sarah Labovitz from Washington & Jefferson College as the 2023 IWLCA Community Awareness Individual Award Winners. East Carolina University, Lee University, Wilkes University, and Warner University have been recognized as the 2023 Team honorees.
The individual Community Awareness Award recognizes those student-athletes who have contributed significantly to their community in a given academic year. These students have given their time and energy to support and develop athlete-community relations and have distinguished themselves from their peers.
Emma McLaughlin, George Washington University
McLaughlin undertook several service efforts during her sophomore year at George Washington University. McLaughlin was a member of the Grassroots Health Organization as a Grassroot Health volunteer. She aided in the teaching of nutrition to sixth graders in the spring and assisted in teaching Sex Education to seventh graders in the fall. McLaughlin also volunteers as WINNERS Lacrosse Coach/Volunteer, which is a nonprofit that provides the local youth in D.C. an opportunity to learn the game of lacrosse as well as essential life skills associated with playing a team sport. Other initiatives included gathering donations for the Raise High Harvest, a George Washington Lacrosse Initiative that provides Thanksgiving baskets to local families in need during the holiday season. She is also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and an Ambassador for Morgan’s Message.
Kate Winstanley, University of Alabama in Huntsville
Winstanley, a senior majoring in Kinesiology, played an active role in introducing ONE LOVE to the UAH campus in the Spring of 2023. After completing 100-plus community service hours over the course of trainings, workshops, events, and more, Winstanley was recognized for her efforts and invited to collaborate with the Athletic Department on implementing ONE LOVE after suffering a season-ending injury in the fall. Winstanley was able to complete 10 ONE LOVE Workshops with UAH teams, campus groups, and even opponents. Winstanley has assisted in two UAH Early Learning Center events. She also joined her teammates in team events such as the BUDS (Bringing Up Down Syndrome) Buddy Walk during Halloween and the Miracle League of North Alabama Games. She assisted in the operations of the UAH Charger Chase and worked closely with team manager Katie Morris to organize multiple other team events designed to bring awareness to several different causes.
Sarah Labovitz, Washington & Jefferson College
Labovitz, a senior majoring in Sociology, has been very involved in serving the Washington & Jefferson campus, as well as in the surrounding community. Labovitz worked this past Spring as a Community Impact Intern at a nonprofit, United Way of Washington (PA) County. She was a VITA Tax Volunteer this past tax season, assisting the Washington community in preparing their taxes. She also helps with the “Produce to People” initiative monthly. Alongside some of her teammates, Labovitz volunteered to clean up and landscape around the local City Mission and provide lunch services to the dining hall on the “Live United” Day of Service. They also assisted at the “Boxes of Love” Thanksgiving community food distribution event this past fall. Labovitz is a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority and serves as the Vice President Foundations, which oversees all philanthropy events for Delta Gamma – Epsilon Delta Chapter of W&J College. Giving back to her lacrosse roots, Labovitz worked as a camp counselor and coach at the W&J Women’s Lacrosse Summer Camps during the summers of 2022 and 2023.
The purpose of the Team Community Awareness Award is to recognize one team in each Division that has contributed significantly to their community during the previous academic year. Academics are not part of the award, and at least 50% of the team’s roster must have participated in community service activities to be eligible for the award.
East Carolina University
The Pirates were involved in numerous events and initiatives throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. Coordinated by Headstrong Foundation, the Pirates participated in raising money and awareness for cancer using their platform and their outreach in the community. East Carolina finished fifth out of 150 teams with the most funds raised from March to May. The team also took part in the Morgan’s Message Sidewalk Chalk event on March 31st. The Pirates have carried out several Pitt Lacrosse Events, a program in Greenville, NC that allows the players to work closely with elementary school-aged girls in lacrosse. The team also made several visits to Elmhurst Elementary throughout the year and help out at gym classes and other school events.
Photo courtesy of East Carolina Athletics.
Earning this distinction for a second year in a row, the Lady Flames continue to support the Lee University campus community as well as numerous acts of service in the local community. As the Lady Flames headed into their 2022-23 season, the team had an incredible opportunity to host a lacrosse clinic in England, teaching lacrosse to the youth at the Oxton Lacrosse Club. During the Fall, the team participated in the Color Run at Stuart Elementary, lending a helping hand during Suicide Prevention Week, played baseball with Special Needs kids for the Bradley’s County Miracle League, and assisted in all Freshman and Transfers moving-in on Helping Hands Day (August 12). In November, the Lady Flames worked the Flame Fair event during Homecoming week and helped greet people in the community, serve food, and promote Lee Lacrosse at the Simply Bank Grand Opening. Operation Christmas Child gave the Lady Flames an opportunity to pack Christmas boxes for the community. Circling back to Stuart Elementary, the team spent the day painting walls, cleaning the building, taking down decorations, setting up for future events and organizing closets at the end of January.
Photo courtesy of Lee University Athletics.
The Colonels were involved in multiple initiatives on the Wilkes University Campus. To name a few, the team participated in the Alcohol Awareness Walk and the Eliza Fletcher Run this past fall. The Colonels also joined other student-athletes in the two-mile awareness walk during Suicide Prevention Week. The team put together a Mental Health Awareness Game in April and hosted a “Girls in Sports” game for local youth lacrosse players during the season as well as volunteering to instruct at Wilkes University’s Girls & Women in Sports Day Clinic. The team participated in the Bandana Project, a mental health awareness and suicide prevention initiative supporting the health and well-being of members within the campus community. The student-athletes were certified in the QPR (Question-Persuade-Refer) bystander training for the Bandana Project. The players also took turns volunteering at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL games selling 50/50 raffle tickets.
Photo courtesy of Wilkes University Athletics.
In an effort to promote inclusion, the Royals coordinated an unforgettable prom night experience catered to Special Needs individuals called “Night to Shine.” The team members acted as dates for the Special Needs attendees. The Royals attended the Lake Wales Charter Schools Women of Will event in April, pairing with young ladies to do team-building exercises and to discuss women in leadership and women role models. The team also assisted at the Lake Wales Art Festival and the KT Sunshine Foundation Southern BBQ & Music Festival in early 2023. On numerous occasions, the Royals assisted at the Lake Wales Community Kitchen as well. The team helped run the Polk County Lacrosse Clinic in September, a clinic designed to introduce girls in the area to lacrosse. The Royals also collected gifts and gift-wrapped the items for the Holiday House event back in December as well as the Krawlin for C.O.P.S. in November.
Photo courtesy of Warner University Athletics.