May 25, 2016 -- The IWLCA announced that Shelby Iapoce of Fairfield University, Sarah Munoz of Limestone College and Kate Gaskin of Christopher Newport University as the 2016 IWLCA Community Awareness Award Winners.
The Community Awareness Award recognizes those student-athletes who have contributed significantly to their community in a given year. These students have given their time and energy to support and develop athlete-community relations and have distinguished themselves from their peers.
They will be honored at the IWLCA All-American Banquet on June 4, at the Radisson Hotel in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
For the past three years, Shelby Iapoce has headed the partnership between Fairfield Lacrosse and the Wounded Warrior Project, including the annual “Play for a Cause” game. To date, Fairfield has raised over $40,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and the individuals supported by the organization. Iapoce has been integral in scheduling the event, designing and ordering apparel, collecting auction items and arranging for honorary captains to attend the game. Equally as important as the donations and money raised by the event is the increased level of awareness that she has helped to generate across Fairfield¹s campus and the surrounding community. Through her leadership, the partnership has blossomed from an annual lacrosse game to a campus- and community-wide event and a yearly tradition.
For her efforts, Iapoce was recognized by Fairfield University in April as a 2016 recipient of the William Wallin Memorial Award, presented to the student-athlete that epitomizes the late William Wallin ¹61, who demonstrated the highest levels of sportsmanship, character and leadership on and off the field.
Throughout the course of her four career as a Saint, Sarah has made outstanding contributions to not only the Limestone Women’s Lacrosse program, but to the athletic department and Limestone campus community as well. Munoz served as President of the Senior Class and the Student Alumni Leadership Council, was a member of the SAAC Executive Committee, recognized as both a tutor and mentor on campus, acted as an Admissions Intern, and also as an Ambassador & Teaching Assistant for the Women in Technology Program. Munoz played a very large role in helping earn the 2015 Team Community Awareness Award, and over the past nine months, she has been heavily involved with 12 different causes and helped the team to complete over 375 hours of community service, while graduating Cum Laude and receiving her degree in Math and Business.
One of the wide-reaching events she was involved in was the Limestone CARES "Stop Hunger Now" event. As President of the SGA, she helped organize their involvement and also participated with the team, helping the efforts of the Hunger Relief project see over 100,000 meals packaged, boxed, and ready for shipment. Over the course of her time here, the hunger relief project has produced over 500,000 meals for malnourished families and children in places like Belize, and has helped over 9,000 school children receive proper nutrition each day. Munoz also worked with the Student Alumni Leadership Council to host the Major Donor Dinner. She coordinated the writing and distribution of over 250 personalized hand-written notes from our student-athletes to be handed out at the dinner. She was heavily involved with all of the team efforts in their partnership with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation – both in raising awareness and helping nearly double their fundraising goal of $1,000 from last year. She helped organize Trick-or-Treat with the Saints on campus, the SGA Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, the WITS event for young women in technology, took part in the women’s lacrosse team’s annual Spartanburg Alternative School donation and clothing drive as well as a winter relief program at her church in Maryland, and also assisted SAAC in all aspects of their partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and fundraising efforts.
Munoz also played a large role in the team and Limestone College’s involvement with the One Love Foundation. She coordinated Yards for Yeardley as well as the Team One Love Fundraiser, and was a huge part of organizing the Limestone Lacrosse One Love Double Header with the men’s team this season. Sarah became a campus leader and a trained facilitator, where she not only co-facilitated an Escalation Workshop for SAAC, but began all of the groundwork for getting the group recognized on campus. Because of Sarah’s dedication and hard work, prior to the completion of the 2016 season and graduation, Limestone College became an official member of Team One Love.
Along with her work on the field and in the classroom, Christopher Newport junior Katie Gaskin has remained heavily involved in community outreach throughout her time with the Captains. Over the past year, she has participated in a variety of service projects while helping make a positive impact on communities ranging from Hampton Roads to Afghanistan.
In addition to her efforts at CNU, Gaskin serves as an Assistant to the Executive Founding Director of Ascend: Leadership Through Athletics. Founded in 2014, Ascend was created to help provide a safe lifestyle for women in Afghanistan while developing them into leaders of tomorrow. The organization works with women from the ages of 16 to 22 and is designed to foster confidence, teamwork, and leadership skills through a variety of activities, including rock climbing.
Outside of her efforts with Ascend, Gaskin has remained closely involved with the Boys & Girls Club. She participated in a clothing drive and partnered with her teammates as well as the Catholic University women’s lacrosse team to hold a spring break clinic for the local Boys & Girls Club. Additionally, she has volunteered weekly at Yates Elementary School through the “Ladies Achieving eXcellence” Program, which utilizes lacrosse as a way to build confidence and mentor young women.
Over the past year, Gaskin has also served as a volunteer with “Be the Match,” which encourages individuals to register for the national database of bone marrow donors, and “Kids First,” which is a safe-driving initiative through the Christopher Newport athletic department that focuses on reminding drivers in the local community to pay extra attention on the roads when schools return to session. She has also participated in the Riverside Community Clean-Up and Special Olympics Golf Outing in recent months.