By Bethany BROWN
Sienna Noordermeer – and her teammates – used her skills to raise money for a very special organization.
Village Christian senior and volleyball player Sienna Noordermeer organized a “serve-a-thon” fundraiser to raise money for Special Olympics Southern California hoping to reach her goal of $10,000. All levels of VCS volleyball joined forces – both boys’ and girls’ teams – to participate in the event, which was held in early December.
The event lasted about two hours in which time each player served the ball approximately 100 times. Sponsors/donors were also recruited for the event. Donors could either contribute a flat dollar amount ahead of the event or donate per serve the day of the event.
“I wanted to use our platforms as athletes and as an athletic organization to benefit another athletic organization,” Noordermeer said. “There was just so much passion all around. You know, to be serving for such a good cause and not just serving to win a point or win a game but to actually make a difference in the community was such a fulfilling experience.”
Noordermeer said she felt inspired to contribute to Special Olympics by her older sister who had worked in the past as a coach for Special Olympics athletes. She recalled seeing the smiles on the faces of young athletes while they were being coached by her sister. She knew then that she wanted to provide that same joy and encouragement to others in the organization.
While she initially wanted to coach as her sister had, a busy academic and athletic schedule didn’t allow it. Instead, she found a way to still show her support to SOSC with a fundraiser. Noordermeer said she was “overjoyed” to see her fellow classmates respond to her idea with abundant enthusiasm and a mutual desire to give back.
“One of the biggest takeaways is that our community came together in a world where there’s a lot of division obviously and in all our busy lives we were able to accomplish something together so beautiful and that brings me so much joy – to be a part of that, let alone lead that,” Noordermeer said. “It was truly an amazing experience.”
On Jan. 12, in front of her peers and teammates at a ceremony on campus, she announced that she had surpassed the initial goal she set and raised a total of $14,580.
She presented a check to Laura Mayo, assistant vice president of Development at Special Olympics Southern California, and Michael Leon, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger.
“It’s really an amazing thing when the youth step up and take on roles to support such important programs in our communities,” Mayo said. “We’re extremely grateful and want to continue spreading awareness on what a significant difference Special Olympics makes in the lives of our athletes.”
Leon further stressed that it means a lot to see people like Sienna and her classmates supporting the organization.
“One of the many things that I enjoy seeing in my role as global messenger is students in schools showing how much they care about our community and the athletes that are being served in Special Olympics,” Leon said. “They really try hard to show just how much they support the organization by doing things [like fundraising] … it’s pretty amazing.”
As for Noordermeer’s next move, she will be attending Northwestern University in the fall and intends on either joining a club on campus in support of Special Olympics or starting one of her own if there isn’t one in place already. She hopes that future VCS teams will continue to exude selflessness and possess an unwavering determination to make a difference.
Moving forward, the serve-a-thon has since been greenlighted by Village Christian School as an annual event.