Dennis Delivers DII Mentality Through Work With Unified for UNIFAT
Courtesy of Greg Gornick, Chestnut Hill SID
PHILADELPHIA, PA – "At a young age you don't think you can make a difference, but being a part of a student run organization like U4U I have seen the impact I can have, not on just one person, but on the world". Chestnut Hill College's sophomore Kelly Dennis (Cincinnati, OH) has been an All-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) performer on the court and a hero in the world around her through her work with Unified for UNIFAT. This is a story of a NCAA Division II student-athlete.
Dennis was first turned on to the work of Unified of UNIFAT (U4U) as a high school student at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a freshman Dennis joined her classmates for a viewing of a documentary that would change their lives forever. "Invisible Children" exposed Dennis and friends to the terrible crimes against humanity committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). U4U seeks to financially and emotionally support the education of children in UNIFAT's primary school in Gulu, Northern Uganda; an African country plagued by the LRA's political upheaval. Because education without peace is as futile as peace without education, U4U strongly believes that education for the children of Uganda is their best hope for a better future.
Upon arrival at Chestnut Hill College, Dennis' efforts at Mount Notre Dame were known; she was identified by faculty members, Sr. Mindy Welding and Dr. Marie Conn, as a student leader who could make an immediate impact on campus. In two years with Dennis serving as president, the Chestnut Hill College U4U club has grown to 70 members. With the annual Fair Trade event, the College's rotunda is filled with tables of hand-made jewelry, purses, clothes, hats, gloves, and other trinkets from Central America, South America, and Africa, with all sales returning to the artisans' home country to help support those in need of basic human necessities.
They have also raised the College Community's awareness by bringing the "Invisible Children" documentary to campus to advocate the sponsorship of three UNIFAT students. Thanks to the work of Dennis and her fellow U4U members the College has raised over $2,000 to support the education of, Anena Patience, Olara Douglas, and Fungaroo Moses. Along with an education, U4U provides these three children proper health care and nutrition. Dennis' passion and commitment to the less fortunate is contagious. The College's U4U club efforts continue to snowball and now gain support from groups outside of campus.
Reflecting on Dennis' humanitarian efforts, Head Men's and Women's Tennis Coach, Albert Stroble offered, "I am absolutely amazed everyday by the person she is becoming. Kelly is very active in community engagement initiatives as demonstrated by her efforts with U4U and the CACC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She personifies what it means to be a student-athlete at the Division II level." An embodiment of the NCAA DII ideals, Dennis has seen her passion and her work reciprocated by the College Community. The family atmosphere at Chestnut Hill College has provided Dennis with the proper setting to enhance and develop her life balance, resourcefulness, commitment to service, learning ability, sportsmanship, and passion. Dennis sees herself committed to other non-profit causes in the future and one day hopes to fill an administrative role with a global charity, but for now, Dennis is focused on her work with U4U. She is eager to foster the program's growth and see its continued humanitarian impact at the College.
Those interested in joining or learning more about Dennis and the works of Chestnut Hill College's Unified for UNIFAT club can contact her at email@example.com. Support and donations are always welcome for the less fortunate and plenty of social programming is always available. Please check out the College's Department of Campus Ministry for all information on future service opportunities.