BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 21 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts. The 17th annual women's volleyball Community Service Team follows:
Layne Stone, Sophomore, Defensive Specialist, Alabama
Stone led the Alabama volleyball team in community service hours in 2019, participating in a number of activities throughout the year in the greater Tuscaloosa area. She volunteered as part of the Read Bama Read, a local non-profit organization that is designed to get books and resources to the youngest students in the community, promoting literacy and helping encourage a love of reading. Her work with young children continued at Halloween Extravaganza, an annual event put on by the UA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee that sees local youth playing Halloween-themed games and activities with student-athletes from each of Alabama's sports.
Allyson Dernehl, Junior, Outside Hitter, Arkansas
Dernehl has worked with various organizations during her time in Fayetteville. Most recently, she has worked two "Sweat Hogs" events, traveling to local elementary schools to talk to students about the importance of physical activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Chesney McClellan, Junior, Middle Blocker, Auburn
McClellan organized a food drive among all of Auburn's athletic program to collect canned goods for the campus food pantry. Her efforts supplied enough cans to feed all of Auburn's students who are suffering from a food deficit for an entire semester. McClellan organized a visit to Haddie's Home. Located in Opelika, Ala., Haddie's Home provides shelter for women and girls that are in crisis. McClellan joined a team comprised of Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members to visit the home, provide items to help maintain the housing and had dinner, crafted and fellowshipped with the girls there. McClellan has also been involved with the university's diversity and inclusion campaigns, speaking about what makes student-athletes unique and celebrating the diversity of Auburn's campus and how that separates the university from other NCAA institutions. Her latest undertaking will be a project next month with the Salvation Army. McClellan is organizing fellow athletic programs on campus to participate in Angel Tree, sponsoring as many "Angels" as possible to provide Christmas gifts to local children this upcoming holiday season.
Paige Hammons, Junior, Outside Hitter, Florida
Hammons worked with several organizations over the last year, including the local elementary school - JJ Finley. There, she has helped the students with their homework and during their classes. Hammons also worked at the Sidney Lanier Center, another local school in Gainesville. She helped lead the Pep Rally at JJ Finley Elementary School, where student-athletes led cheers and gave tips to the students on how to stay focused and do their best on upcoming state exams.
Meghan Donovan, Senior, Setter, Georgia
An active member in the University of Georgia and Athens communities, Donovan strives to give back in her free time. She helped raise over a thousand dollars for the Athens Area Homeless Shelter by hosting percentage nights and organizing a charity event with Living Hope Church. She is a partner with the Clarke County Mentor Program, working with local school children, focusing on the importance of education. Donovan has volunteered time with Extra Special People and Special Olympics of Georgia. Her community outreach began long before arriving in Athens as she participated in many events in her hometown of St. Louis, Mo., including working as a volunteer at Camp Independence of Barnes Jewish Hospital where she spent time working with children with cerebral palsy for four years. Donovan has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll the first three years of her career along with earning a spot on the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll in 2016. She has also been a Dean's List and J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics honoree throughout her career for her work in the classroom. Donovan is an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee while recently being inducted into Georgia's Leadership Education and Development (L.E.A.D.) program for high-achieving student-athletes.
Avery Skinner, Junior, Outside Hitter, Kentucky
Skinner has logged more than 250 community service hours in her time as a Wildcat. This past summer, Skinner went to Ethiopia with other UK athletes as part of Operation Hero, bringing life-saving supplies and resources to Ethiopian residents. Additionally, she has spent over 35 hours in the Early Childhood Lab and has worked with the Step-By-Step program working to provide childcare for single mothers. Skinner has worked at St. Joseph's Hospital in the NICU and has used her spare time to help at the University of Kentucky Childhood Lab. She has also assisted at the Special Olympics track meet in the Lexington area, worked at the Child Development Center of the Bluegrass and spent her time with the Lexington Hearing & Speech Center.
Sydney Mukes, Senior, Outside Hitter, LSU
Mukes has led the Tigers in community service this season, helping with numerous projects around the community and getting involved with many organizations. She has volunteered her time to help paint houses with MLK Walls Painting, participated with middle school students in their PE classes at Glasgow Middle School, read books to a class of second graders with Read Across America and has helped with the local Miracle League many times throughout the year. Mukes has also been involved with LA Key Academy's Youth Field Day, Night to Shine (a prom night put on by the Tim Tebow Foundation for people with special needs), Pawdi Gras, DG Fan Day, Thank-A-Thon and has taught volleyball skill throughout the community with LSU and the YMCA.
Bayleigh Scott, Junior, Middle Blocker, Ole Miss
A member of the Volleyball Leadership Council, Scott also serves as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She has participated in the campus wide Thanksgiving Adopt-a-Basket event since 2017, as well The Big Event, which is the largest community service outreach in the state, where students disperse into the Oxford/Lafayette communities for service projects such as painting, yard work, window and pressure washing, cleaning, assisting the elderly, and simply spending time giving back to the community. Scott has participated in A Hope to Dream, an event that helps provide mattresses to families in need. She can frequently be found at the town elementary and primary schools, participating in Reading with the Rebels and Read Across America. Scott participated in and assisted with the planning of Rebelthon, a 24-hour dance marathon to raise money for the Batson's Children's Hospital of Mississippi. In September of 2019, Scott visited the hospital in Jackson, Miss., and spent time playing games with and getting to know the child patients. Other community service projects and volunteer efforts include A Night to Shine, a prom held for the elderly sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, and TangoTab, an event that allows hungry families to eat and receive meals. Scott role with SAAC has allowed her to spearhead and help carry out community service efforts that has directly assisted more than 20 families in the Oxford/Lafayette County communities. She has volunteered and shadowed at several clinics and rehabilitation/therapy centers in Oxford, her home state of Texas, and in Little Rock, Ark. Scott will graduate a year early, finishing her degree in May of 2020. She is a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, as well as the Athletic Director's and Dean's Honor Roll. Scott was named an M Club Foundation's Student Athlete of the Month last spring, and also ranks in the Top 10 in the Ole Miss record book for single-match blocks.
Gabby Zgunda, Junior, Libero/Defensive Specialist, Mississippi State
As a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership Team, Zgunda participated in several community service activities, including Operation Christmas Child and the FCA Banquet. She has also sacrificed her time volunteering at local elementary schools and thrift stores. Zgunda participated in the Dance Marathon for the Children's Miracle Network and volunteered on campus for the Campaign Against Domestic Violence. She earned SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll as a freshman and SEC Academic Honor Roll as a sophomore. Zgunda currently works as a student photographer with Mississippi State athletics.
Brynn Paumen, Sophomore, Middle Blocker, Missouri
Paumen has completed 35 hours of community service in her two-year Mizzou career thus far. In the 2019-20 school year, she has completed 11.5 hours of service, including AVID Mentoring Program, Caring for Columbia, Central Missouri Food Bank, Special Olympics, Tiger Tails Initiative, Paxton Keeley Elementary School Carnival and Mizzou Moves. Paumen completed 23 hours of service in her 2018-19 freshman campaign, including Mizzou Volleyball Black & Gold Youth Clinic, Columbia Elementary School Open House, Columbia Mall Meet & Greet, Tiger Food for Friends, Special Olympics, Show Me State Games and St. Francis of Assisi Homeless Shelter. She is a member of 2019-20 Mizzou Athletics Tiger Leadership Institute and the Mizzou Athletics Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
Courtney Koehler, Senior, Setter, South Carolina
As she heads into the final semester of her collegiate career, Koehler has totaled over 150 hours of community outreach at South Carolina. She has spent the majority of her time on four projects: working at Christopher Towers senior living center, Transitions Homeless Center, the Pawmetto Lifeline animal shelter, and working as a mentor at a local middle school. Koehler also has spent time collecting donations for a local women's shelter. Already this year, she has 16.5 hours of service. Outside of her community outreach, Koehler is a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member and has served as an officer in the athletics department's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She is in year three with the school's Gamecock Leadership Academy.
Alyssa Andreno, Senior, Middle Blocker, Tennessee
Andreno was a VoLeaders participant during her sophomore year at Tennessee, including taking a service trip to Ecuador. During her four years at Tennessee, she has completed over 120 hour of community service with 13 different organizations, including East Tennessee Children's Hospital, Read Across America, American Cancer Society and more during her four seasons at University of Tennessee. Andreno is a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative for the volleyball team from August 2017 to present. She has spent the last two years as a captain of the volleyball team. Andreno was named to the 2018 and 2017 SEC Academic Honor Roll as well as the 2018 SEC Community Service Team. She was a recipient of the 2018 Academic Achiever Award at University of Tennessee. During her first season on campus, she earned SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll (2016-2017). In the classroom, she has been on the Dean's List her entire academic career at UT.
Haley Slocum, Senior, Setter/Defensive Specialist, Texas A&M
Slocum has participated in numerous volunteer activities on campus and within the community throughout her collegiate career, including many educational and youth activities. She has made a strong effort to get the team involved this semester, even during the season. Slocum has spent time at many local elementary schools, welcoming children back to school and spending time reading books for Dr. Seuss' Reading Night. She has participated in multiple Sports Fests, in which she plays volleyball with kids and teaches them the skills of the sport. Each year, Slocum serves as the site leader for The Big Event, the largest one-day, student-run service project in the nation in which Aggies assist residents within the community. She also volunteered for Aggies Read, an outreach organization that is dedicated to promoting literacy and fostering a love of reading for elementary school students in the community and has volunteered for Aggies Move, a local nonprofit initiative to help children make healthier nutritional choices and encourages physical activity. Slocum has volunteered at the Special Olympics Spring Games and the Aggies CAN food drive, benefitting the Brazos Valley Food Bank. A member of Chi Omega, she assists with the women's fraternity's annual Songfest, the largest Greek philanthropy event on Texas A&M's campus that benefits nearly 30 philanthropies. In 2018, Slocum was named to the SEC Community Service Team and received Texas A&M's Unsung Hero Award, as voted on by her teammates. She is a two-time SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll recipient and is also a coach for the Aggie Elite Volleyball Club.