Hitting a Home Run for the Community
As a volunteer with Farmville Challenger Baseball, Long's making a big impact in the lives of deserving kids. And, as a result of her work with the program, she's found a path to her future.
Long knew early on that she wanted to teach children about healthy lifestyles. As an avid athlete who ran track year-round, played softball and rode horses, Long understood the benefits of diet and exercise, and wanted to share her passion with others. But, teacher education wasn't the only thing she had her sights set on. After an on-campus visit and talking with alumni, Long knew that Longwood was the place for her.
"I knew from the time I stepped on campus that very first visit that Longwood was where I belonged," said Long. "There are so many unique things that other schools just don't offer, and the opportunity for involvement in the school and the community is unmatched."
Long has chosen to dive head first into the local community, serving as the league coordinator for Farmville Challenger Baseball, a modified baseball/t-ball league for children with disabilities. Dr. Matthew Lucas, who just happens to be Long's favorite professor, is the president and founder of the league and encouraged her to get involved. As a result, Long can be found handling everything from the collection of medical information forms to helping players hone their skills to cheering the teams on during games.
"All kids deserve a chance to play sports, and Challenger Baseball is an amazing opportunity for these kids to just be kids," said Long. "I love working with the children, their parents and their families. There's nowhere else I'd rather be on a Saturday morning."
In fact, Long's involvement with Challenger Baseball has encouraged her to seek a special education minor.
"Working with children with disabilities has really enlightened me," said Long. "Eventually, I'd like to teach adaptive PE classes, and adding a special education minor to my studies will give me a stronger foundation by which to teach."
At Longwood, Long has had plenty of opportunities to gain hands-on classroom knowledge in adaptive PE. The school requires students to complete five practicums - one of which is in adaptive PE - in local elementary, middle or high schools.
"PE jobs are few and far between," said Long. "I feel confident that the hands-on experience I've received at Longwood - as well as the additional in and out-of-the-classroom activities - have given me a competitive advantage. Longwood is a good place to be from."
Long will graduate in May 2012 and is currently considering seeking a masters in physical and health education.