MEDINA — Even though it was 25 degrees and snowing Saturday, Medina Schools rugby coaches, players and family members participated in the third annual Day of Caring, where volunteers helped Medina residents with yardwork and general fall cleanup.
The annual Day of Caring started with an idea from rugby player, Mason Juka, a Medina sophomore at the time. Arising from a strong desire to participate in community service, Juka and the team also wanted to find a way to further demonstrate life skills including leadership, service and good citizenship.
Thus, the Day of Caring was born.
“We have a great group of students on the rugby team. I wanted to spread the word that we aren’t just athletes. We are good Samaritans as well.” Juka said.
With assistance from United Way of Medina County, the group found elderly individuals and disabled military veterans in need of assistance with yardwork and provided the service at no cost to the homeowner.
Every year, between 20 and 30 athletes and their family members participate.
Medina senior Cassidy Edwards has participated for two years.
“I love helping out because people really appreciate it,” Edwards said.
Boys rugby coach Brian Scerca said the students are learning that it only takes one person to make a positive impact in their community.
Not only are current players having fun making a difference, rugby alumni often come back and participate.
Brookside High School junior Will Seacrist returned to Medina from Sheffield Lake to support his old rugby team.
“The Day of Caring is a great opportunity for team bonding. Plus, we always have a fun time,” Seacrist said.
Between 9 a.m. and noon, the group divided and conquered yardwork at nine homes throughout Medina. Their duties included raking leaves, picking up sticks and branches and removing a few overgrown shrubs.
At the last location, the students, parents and coaches reunited at Connie Ameer’s house to help with yardwork. Ameer, a former teacher at The Nurtury Preschool in Medina, said that a lot of her former students are now helping her with yardwork.
“It has come full circle,” Ameer said. “It is so wonderful and I am so appreciative of all their hard work.”
Even though Juka is graduating from Medina in the spring, he said he is confident the event will continue in the tradition of helping those in need.
“We have a lot of fun, and it is has really become a club tradition,” Juka said.