June 12, 2009

Busy Spring for EWU Women's Basketball Player

Sophomore participates in a variety of activities the past several months

Kyla Evans, a sophomore on the Eastern Washington University women's basketball team, has had quite a busy spring following the conclusion of basketball season, from participating in the NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Conference to volunteering with a variety of events.

The NCAA Conference took place from May 24-27 in Orlando, Fla.

"It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had," Evans said. "It was really cool to meet others who had the same kind of focus, mindset, struggles and stories that I do. The camaraderie I made with the people I met there was really awesome.

"We focused a lot on discovering who you are as far as your values and concerns and if your actions match up with what you say you are. We also worked on understanding the impact you have on others and how to exercise your full potential in terms of being able to influence and help people.

"It was a really motivating and empowering event."

One of her recent volunteer efforts occurred on May 9 at the Cheney Food Bank's annual food drive, where she was helped by football players Matt Martin and Tony Davis as well as Andrew Spitzer, who works in the athletics department's equipment services office.

Evans brought to Cheney a passion for volunteering at food banks from her native Brewster, Wash.

"I had a teacher in high school who had us volunteer at the food bank in Brewster, and there were a lot of people who would cry and were so appreciative when we helped out," Evans said. "You don't realize how much people really need it."

Then, in late May, members of the equipment staff played the athletic training staff in four different sports (football, volleyball, basketball and soccer), wrapping up the Battle 4 the Brick with the soccer competition and a barbecue on May 30.

Spitzer initiated the competition a year ago and, since he is graduating this quarter, he went to SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Council, of which Evans is a member) to ask if they would take over the event so it would continue past his departure from Eastern. 

"We really wanted to encourage athletes to participate and come out and cheer on the equipment room and training staff on and show our appreciation, and we decided to have a big barbecue for the athletics department," Evans said. "We had a really great turnout and it ended up being a lot of fun."

On Saturday (June 6), Evans and several members of the women's basketball team volunteered at the Hutton Settlement, which is located in Spokane and provides residential care for children. There, the team helped the kids clean out a barn before playing soccer and spending time with them at an ensuing barbecue. 

In fact, the women's basketball team has been involved with a number of volunteer efforts throughout Evans' time on campus.

"Ever since I have been at EWU, the team has been enthusiastic about volunteer and community service efforts and really understand the impact we have," Evans said.

"We have now been to the Hutton Settlement twice, we worked with Habitat for Humanity, donated toys for Christmas presents, worked with the Second Harvest Food Bank and volunteered with the Special Olympics.

"Being a part of these activities has been such a rewarding and positive experience. We as athletes are given so much and have been awarded such a great opportunity here and being able to give back is a way we can show appreciation." 

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