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Women's Lacrosse Helps Local Women 'Dress for Success'

Feb. 17, 2000

A college runs smoother when it is supported by the community that surrounds it. The inverse is also true, however, that a community is strengthened by a college student body that is willing to contribute to their neighborhood brethren. The Lafayette College women's lacrosse team is making sure that both of those things happen.

At the suggestion of head coach Jill Redfern, the student-athletes of the women's lacrosse team have begun volunteering for the "Dress for Success" program run by the Third Street Alliance. Players collect suits for women in need in the Easton area. These professional suits are intended for women who need an interview suit or have landed a job but need additional dress clothing. The dresses that the players collect will be distributed to women who are either working mothers, working to get off public assistance, or are working to further their education.

The program was started here in Easton about two years ago officially, but has been instituted in other areas prior to that. The Alliance began running the program for the women of Easton in an attempt to provide suits for interviews, but after a while it became painfully clear that it wasn't just suits they needed. They needed bodies to help sort out the clothes they could use and the ones they could not. That's where the women's lacrosse team came in.

Penny Pfifer a Program Manager at the Alliance, has been the liaison between the team and the Alliance. She is excited about teaming up with the Leopards.

"It's absolutely wonderful," said Pfifer. "They're bright, they're eager. They attack the work like it's nothing, and sometimes when you walk in it can be a daunting task. In an hour, it's amazing what they can do. We really appreciate the help they're providing, and it really reflects nicely on the team and the school."

Redfern brought the idea up in fall practices, just before the semester break in December. The players immediately responded, heading home with the idea in their heads. When they returned in late January, along with them came bags full of clothing and suits by the handful. Coach Redfern's office was filled, wall to wall with women's dress clothing.

According to sophomore defender Marissa Bauck, collecting was easy.

"My mom is always donating her old clothes, and she works in a professional office with other women who donated, so I just took them off their hands," said Bauck. "It's so easy to give old clothes and things that you have no need for anymore. There's always something that another person can use."

Community relations, however, aren't the only reason the women's players have started to donate their time and clothing.

"I like to know people are getting something to be successful," said Alison Fisher, a junior and the chairperson for the volunteer work. "Things have been easy for me in life, and if I can make it easier for others, I'll do anything I can. It makes me feel good."

The work the players are doing seems to be doing some good. She claims it was her that came up with the idea to start the charity work after reading about the program in the newspaper.

"It seemed like it was suitable to this area because we're a college campus where a lot of people have clothing like that," said Redfern. "Not only that, but it seems as if there is a great need for this charity."

Along with collecting the clothes, the players will soon begin volunteering their time at the Third Street Alliance, helping organizing the closets of clothes that they have helped accumulate. According to Fisher, everyone on the team has signed up for time slots and seems excited about being able to connect with members of the Easton community, people they often don't get a chance to see.

The women's lacrosse team aren't the only ones getting into the community service act, however. Head men's soccer coach Tim Lenahan says that his players will be celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday on March 2nd by reading selected works to young children in the area. The men's soccer team will also be teaming up with the women's team soon to help start tutoring students in the Easton Area schools. It's all part of the PARDners program at Lafayette College, where student-athletes volunteer their time in the community. Lenahan claims his players love doing it, and it helps support the relations between the community and the team.

The women's lacrosse team is still looking for suits and casual clothing. If you would like to donate, drop it off at the women's lacrosse office in 311 Kirby Sports Center, on the corner of Pierce and Hamilton streets in Easton, or call Refern at 610-330-5716 to arrange for an athlete to pick the suit up at your home or office.