By Jourdan Madrigal, Contributor
This special section of the Gateway, which features stories on UNO students and faculty who volunteer, was submitted by the School of Communication’s “News Writing and Reporting” students, under the supervision of Professor Kevin Warneke.
For the Maverick Athletic Training Students, or MATS, there’s more to training than helping athletes on and off the field.
Melanie McGrath, faculty adviser for the Athletic Training Department, said her athletic training students volunteer at four events throughout the Omaha community each year.
One of McGrath’s personal favorites that students participate in is called Silver Liners.
“The Silver Liners is an event around Christmas time for underprivileged children in the Omaha area where the children get to meet Santa, see a real reindeer and do Christmas activities,” McGrath said.
The main role of MATS at this event is more for physical labor. Fifteen to 18 students assist with setting up and taking down the event.
McGrath said she likes Silver Liners because it’s nice to be involved with non-athletic training events.
MATS also participate in Relay for Life. McGrath’s students have had a team for the relay for the past four years.
Last year’s team was in the top five fundraising groups at UNO, raising more than $1,000.
For a more hands-on learning experience, MATS volunteer at the Omaha Marathon, where they assist with training services and first aid during the event.
Former MATS president Katie Kittleson said her favorite event to volunteer at is the Metro High School Athletic Training Day.
“First we go out to the schools and promote the profession,” Kittleson said. “They don’t realize there’s a lot more to it than taping ankles and giving water to people.”
Kittleson said UNO hosts this event for any high school student interested in learning more about athletic training. It’s free for all who are interested in participating and includes mini classes, labs and a relay at the end with athletic training supplies.
“These events allow you to get yourself out there and help people,” Kittleson said. “Each experience you have is a rewarding one.”