University Relations and Marketing

Contacts:
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269
Krista Montague, Department of Athletics, 657-2061 

October 6, 2010

'More than just playing'

Women’s soccer players organize benefit for Make-A-Wish Foundation

By Dan Carter
MSU Billings News Service

As a student-athlete, Sam Boehm knows all about hard work. But sometimes “hard work” is relative.

As a senior defensive player for the Montana State University Billings women’s soccer team, Boehm has the drill down pat: school, practice, rest, homework, school, practice, tests, games, school... repeat as necessary.

Sam and KariYet for all the cardiopulmonary work and the academic stress in her life, it’s nothing compared to the struggles some young kids endure every day. For some children — such as those with life-threatening medical conditions — running is out of the question.

Young dreams and wishes burn as brightly as a summer sunrise, however. And that’s the driving force behind a special fundraiser organized by Boehm and her soccer teammates for this weekend.

Boehm, a red-shirt senior working on her graduate degree in public relations, has worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help raise money before and during the team’s game against Seattle Pacific University on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 1 p.m. 

The Make-A-Wish Game is the first of what the team hopes will be an annual affair for the women’s soccer team.

“It’s the first year we’ve had anything like this,” said senior midfielder Kari Foreman. “We hope they can make it a tradition.”

Boehm said she got the idea for the game while working on a project for one her upper-division applied communications classes.  She began looking at ways to bring a service component to the assignment and started asking about Make-A-Wish possibilities. She had been to women’s basketball games to raise awareness for breast cancer and wanted to pursue a community project.

“I really like the Think Pink game and wanted to do something similar,” she said.

During the “Think Pink Night” games, the women’s basketball team wears pink — everything from shoelaces to hairbands to fingernail polish — to support breast cancer awareness.

For the Make-A-Wish Game, Boehm and her teammates will be sporting bright blue warm-ups and selling blue stars to help raise money and awareness.  People can buy the stars for $1 each from Krista Montague in the MSU Billings Department of Athletics. And for every $5 donated, the donor will be entered into a drawing for an iPod Shuffle.

As a NCAA Division II university, MSU Billings was able to link up with an established relationship between intercollegiate athletics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. MSU Billings has the only college sports program in Montana associated with the foundation, said Brittany Youngman, development coordinator with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Pennsylvania.

“We’re very excited that she’s doing this,” Youngman said of Boehm’s enthusiasm and drive.
The Division II National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee led the NCAA in 2003 with its first national community service initiative by embarking upon a fundraiser with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. With the support of the Division II membership, more than $48,000 was raised during the Inaugural year.  Last year, more than $400,000 was raised, Youngman said.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been helping Montana youth between the ages of 2-1/2 and 18 with life-threatening conditions since 1987. In previous years the Montana chapter has completed between 20 and 25 wishes a year, but Youngman said there is the potential to serve about 60 children a year. 

“Any little bit helps and Samantha’s project is sure to help make wishes come true for some very special kids,” Youngman said.

Boehm said the project has been gathering good support from the community. Ciao Mombo Restaurant has provided funding to purchase the Make-A-Wish stars and shirts.

The project supports one of the core values of NCAA and MSU Billings to demonstrate the role intercollegiate athletics plays in the higher education mission and in enhancing the sense of community. The women’s soccer team has helped at the Billings Animal Shelter before and this is a new step for them.

“We wanted to show that we get involved in the community,” Boehm said. “We not only go to school here, but we get involved. It’s more than just playing.”

For more information on donating to the Make-A-Wish Game or to purchase stars, contact Krista Montague in the Department of Athletics at 657-2061 or at kmontague@msubillings.edu

PHOTO ABOVE: MSU Billings women soccer players Sam Boehm, left, and Kari Foreman have been working on a fundraising event for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The game is Saturday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m. The idea was hatched by Boehm, who is a red-shirt senior on the team and working on her master’s degree in public relations.


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