Crush Cares 2017 – More than Just Volleyball

Local Charities Receive $10,000 from “Crush Cares” Fundraiser Author: Robbin Gould


One of the mottoes of Crush Volleyball Club is “Life lessons, volleyball included.” On January 7, 2017, Crush players learned about community service by participating in the club’s annual “Crush Cares” fundraiser. Fifteen Crush teams, ages 10-18, gathered at Walmart Supercenter in Florence to shop for local charities with money they had collected.


Six Northern Kentucky organizations received much-needed supplies and cash totaling $10,368:


Action Ministries — Provides grocery and household items to about 900 families each month.

Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky — Mission: To provide children and families with opportunity and hope for better lives. Vision: For every child to be safe, healthy, and loved in a supportive, nurturing environment.

Madonna House — Helps the single young woman who chooses to give birth and raise her child. Goal: To prepare the mother emotionally, financially, spiritually, and educationally for independent living.

New Hope Center — Assists women and men with unplanned pregnancies; provides after-abortion support.

Rose Garden — Provides pregnancy care and assistance; operates a food pantry; offers primary health care.

Welcome House — The Service Coordination area provides assessment, outreach, case planning, financial education/budgeting, housing counseling, employment support, and more.


Crush Cares

In late fall, each Crush team was assigned a charity; older and younger teams were grouped together for a “big sister-littler sister” experience. Before Christmas, players learned about their charity by volunteering on-site.


Next came fundraising. Over the holidays, players collected donations from friends and relatives; some earned money through chores, babysitting, etc.


On January 7, Crush players shopped at the Florence Walmart for items on their charity’s list using the money they had raised. All teams collected at least several hundred dollars.


Thanks to the Florence Walmart for providing special checkout lanes, gift cards, etc. Thanks also to Crush’s Morgan Ebner and Margie Fichlie for their hard work and dedication to Crush Cares.


Fundraising Results

Top three teams:

Crush 17 Blue — $961

Crush 15 Blue — $920

Crush 16 Blue — $824


Top three players:

Olivia Bangert, Crush 17 Blue — $365

Shelby Jones, Crush 14 Black — $200

Maddie Music, Crush 15 Blue — $154

Training Team — Samantha Hodge — $130


Players say. . .

What did the players learn from their Crush Cares experience? A player from each team shared their thoughts:

Karley Schlensker- Team: Crush 18 Blue     Charity: The Children’s Home

Crush Cares was a really great way for us to get involved and help our community. It showed me how easy it is to raise money for people in need. It was really fun getting to shop for the items that the children’s home needed. It showed me how difficult it is for non-profit organizations to get what they need. Overall Crush Cares was a great way to do community service and bond with my volleyball team.

Makayla Cain- Team: Crush 17 Blue     Charity: Welcome House

Crush cares taught me that I should always make an effort to help those in need. It made me realize that there are so many people and families in this area that need the extra help and the importance to recognize them and do whatever we can, even if it’s something small. My team and I should always keep in mind that even though we are extremely fortunate people, we need to lend a hand to those that aren’t. Helping our community and putting others first is something we should continue to do throughout our entire lives.

Alex EngelhardTeam: Crush 17 Black          Charity: Action Ministries

More than just volleyball. It shows in practice, the lessons we learn for discipline, structure, and punctuality and so many other things. Our love for the community is perfectly illustrated when we participate in Crush Cares. Every girl raises money. Then, we all go to Walmart and purchase nonperishable items for different shelters that help the less fortunate. Crush is one team and comes even closer together to make a difference in lives all through Kentucky. This is more than just volleyball; it’s an amazing experience of joy. Helping those who can’t provide for themselves and knowing that they are getting a second chance is what makes this experience worth it. Changing lives with your team and other girls is something you can’t demand. You can’t demand a life to change, but you can create the opportunity.

Maddy EdieTeam: Crush 16 Blue       Charity: The Rose Garden

Being on Crush has given me the opportunity to learn more about the Rose Garden Mission and the purpose that it serves in the community surrounding it. The Rose Garden provides free pregnancy care, nutrition assistance, and health care for those in need. My team was able to help the Mission by putting together baby food packs. We also raised money and used it to buy and prepare care packages for expectant mothers. Through this experience I learned that there are lots of people in need and many organizations working hard to help them.

Holly BatesTeam: Crush 16 Black    Charity: The Madonna House

I learned that newborn babies do not need rubber duckies because they still are bathed in the sink. We were assigned to the Madonna House; a place used to help mothers with children. We were asked to provide baby items and personal items for the mothers. We learned that babies come in all different shapes and size. An organization like this runs on donations. Donating items is very important, because the mothers are in need of help to support themselves and their children.

Maddie MusicTeam: Crush 15 Blue Charity: Action Ministries

Crush Cares was an experience that truly opened my eyes. Together, as a volleyball club we raised over $10,000 from donations, chores, and any other way a player could raise money. This showed me the power of teamwork and dedication. As well as the experience teaching me teamwork, it also made me thankful for everything I have. When I walked into Action Ministries, I saw things that I usually take for granted. This made me realize that I am very fortunate to have all the things I have. Overall, Crush Cares was a great experience that taught me many life lessons.

Riley Applegate- Team: Crush 15 Blue Charity: Action Ministries

Crush Cares provided the opportunity to help out people in need of vital supplies. Since we raised more than $10,000, we were able to give back and buy things that most of us take for granted every day. When we worked at Action Ministries, it was very clear that they were in need of volunteers to keep their operation running. All in all, it opened my eyes to how much I have and that we should all be thankful for what we have.


Jaylyn GoebelTeam: Crush 15 Black Charity: The New Hope Center

By doing Crush Cares, I have learned not only the rush of happiness you get by helping others, but also bringing more meaning into your life. Not everybody is as lucky as us girls who have the amazing privilege to have such good lives. Crush Cares is such a crazy experience that not everyone gets to know about. Helping people is such a blessing and I wish I could it more often. It makes you happy about how good you have it and how grateful you should be. Crush Cares also taught me new skills. Buying what’s most needed, being smart with money, etc. These skills are critical for young girls our age because they are skills that are waiting for us in the future. I’m so happy to have completed my second year of Crush Cares in a row and hopefully I get to experience many more.

Mackenzie TackettTeam: Crush  14 Blue            Charity: Action Ministries

Volunteering is important to me because I get to help people who are in need. I get a lot in my life, so it feels good to help others. I also help at Matthew 25 Ministries where we pack up goods to send to people who have been in natural disasters. They lost a lot so we get to help them out. In my free time I can help neighbors and donate old clothes to raise money for an organization (like Action Ministries). This is why I like to do community service.

Hannah StremmelTeam: Crush 14 Black          Charity: Children’s Home

I learned that we should be thankful for what we have. Some kids out there don’t have the pleasures that we have. It was a great and fun experience to serve others. It would be awesome to do it again!

Hannah HockensmithTeam: Crush 13 Blue               Charity: The Madonna House

         I love Crush Cares because I learned so much about teamwork. The coaches allowed us to act as a family, they allowed us to laugh yet they pushed us to be the best that we could be. Crush cares is important because we are helping out the community and taking part in something important. I had a lot of fun being with my team and shopping for the Madonna House. It felt really good to give back and help out in any way that I can.

Josie SteppeTeam: Crush 13 Black            Charity: Welcome House

The Welcome House of Covington, Kentucky is a non-profit organization that raises money to end homelessness in the community. When a homeless person needs help getting onto their feet the Welcome House is always there.  First a homeless person has to be verified. The Welcome House can see the person’s information through a computer program to see if they are actually homeless. Homeless means that a person is not paying to live in his or her own house or apartment. It also means that they do not receive any income or do not have a job. The Welcome House helps homeless people get back onto their feet by giving them a temporary home and helping them find a job. If a homeless person has kids then the Welcome House will send the kids to school. The buses from their schools will actually come to the Welcome House or their housing building and pick them up for school. The employees at the Welcome House will make sure that the kids get to live as close to a normal childhood as they can get.  The Welcome House has helped many homeless people to get a job and get back on their feet again.  The Welcome House also takes donations which can be anything from canned food to beauty products. These donations help so much and are deeply appreciated.  In conclusion, the Welcome House is a great organization that changes the community for good.

Kylie DannerTeam: Crush 12 Blue            Charity: The Rose Garden

I just wanted to let you know that volunteering at Crush Cares was a wonderful experience because I was able to give back to the community which I’ve never had the chance to do before. I learned that there were so many mothers that are struggling and need our help. Not only did Crush Cares allow our girls to be together but it was an experience that I will remember for forever.

Gracie GreberTeam: Crush 11 Blue            Charity: New Hope Center

I loved Crush Cares it meant a lot to the charities that we gave to. I loved how we raised so much so we could help our community. I am glad that I saw a crowded room full of people because that meant that they really cared for what we were doing. I loved how we got to pick out baby clothes for the babies at New Hope. I am looking forward to next year.

Campbell EckTeam: Crush 10 Blue Charity: Children’s Home

I had a very good experience in my first time with Crush Cares. I think that it is wonderful that our volleyball club got to help the children in the Children’s Home.  I think that it was very cool to go out and shop for the items for the boys in the Children’s Home. I am so grateful to have our club team participate in this wonderful experience.

Coaches say…

What did the coaches learn from their Crush Cares experience? A few of our coaches shared their thoughts:

Clara England: Director

As a Director, coach and mother it is important to me that we teach our younger generation what it means to give back. I have been in many different places in my life, including close to homelessness and I understand the need to support our communities. By offering Crush Cares it truly teaches different life lessons as many of our players have said: -Teaches us to count money; – Teaches us to work as a team; – Teaches us to be thankful for what we have been given; and – Teaches them not to judge those for what they are lacking in life and most importantly it teaches them what a difference they can make both on and off the court. My favorite part of shopping process is watching the girls come together, calculate what they have to spend as a team and then calculate each item that they feel is most important to give so they do not go over their limit. True teamwork at its best! When they are delivering goods, I love to watch their faces when they realize what a difference the items they have purchased will make to so many. That is the best part of the entire day for me.

Jena Hernandez- Crush 10 Blue Head Coach

As a new coach with Crush, this was my first “Crush Cares” event.  I was astounded with the amount of money raised by the girls and the overwhelming support from parents. It makes my heart warm knowing that I work for such an amazing club volleyball organization. You can tell that the young women that join Crush love, and look forward, to this event year after year. Providing charity to those less fortunate in our area builds a bond between the organization and the community, and I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish together.

Ali Mirolo- Crush 14 Blue Head Coach

Crush Cares is a unique and wonderful opportunity for individual success, teamwork, and community building. Each girl has to work individually, but they get to see, first thing in the season that a team can build so much more than one girl can individually. As a coach, it is heartwarming and encouraging to see the team come together, have fun and to give back. Crush Cares is unique to Crush, in that every player participates and gets to see how they are helping others giving them the opportunity to become more self-aware and start the life lessons they learn at Crush.

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