BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Tradition, dedication and commitment – those words describe what Governor Livingston head football coach Dan Guyton expects of his players, both on and off the field. On Friday, August 11, those values were on display as 27 GL football players volunteered at the Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside for the fifth year in a row.
The Children’s Specialized Hospital is one of the nation’s leading providers of care for children facing special health challenges. It serves as a long-term care facility for children in need and is a preeminent pediatric rehabilitation center.
The team helped out by cleaning up the playground, organizing donations to the hospital and performing other needed tasks. They also watched a movie about the hospital and the work it does with children.
Giving back to the community has been a pre-season tradition for the GL football team for a number of years. The experience has helped the players not only form a bond with their teammates, but with an organization that plays a vital role in the community. Pat DeAngelis, a senior captain, said the experience was a great opportunity to help others and bond as a team. Senior captain Matt Schuman said volunteering at the Children’s Hospital makes him realize how lucky he is to be able to play football and said, “it’s the best thing we do as a football team.” For many of the varsity players it is one of the highlights of the football season.
Not only has the GL team made an impact through their volunteer work, but will continue to help the hospital in another way. The team is currently fundraising and trying to raise money to upgrade their equipment, purchase team gear and locker room supplies through a fundraising program called SNAP. A portion of the proceeds they raise will be donated to the Children’s Specialized Hospital and the GL Football Alumni Association.
As community goes, the GL football team will not stop there. On Saturday, September 16th, the team will participate in the “Annual Clean Communities Clean Up Day” as part of the state-wide New Jersey Clean Communities Program. In fact, though it falls right in the middle of their season, the GL football team is one of the biggest volunteer groups for Berkeley Heights.