Oct. 23, 2001
Athletes come and go in Tallahassee about as often as the Seminoles go to the National Championship, and they leave without thinking much about the community. But this student-athlete wants to give back to the city that has given so much to her. After being recognized by the Atlantic Coast Conference in January of 2001 for her outstanding community service, Alex Sevillano is showing her teammates, coaches and more importantly her school, the importance of getting involved with the neighbors.
Children look up to these athletes as heroes, emulating how they walk and talk and even how they play their respective sports. So it's always great to see that an athlete can brighten up a child's day by spending time with them.
"We went to this rec-center, Palmon and Monroe, and played with kids. It was great because they come and watch our games too and they get all excited because you just come out there and play with them after school."
As always though, there is one memory or a special boy or girl that seems to hang around all the time and makes you the center of their attention while you are there. They want to show you their toy collection or Barbie accessories and be your best friend forever.
"There was this one little boy, he's got to be around 10, and every time we would come, he would call me his girlfriend and not leave my side. He held my hand wherever we went and I would give him piggyback rides for hours in the 85-degree weather. All the little kids would be like 'is that your boyfriend, is he your boyfriend' or ' is that your girlfriend.' I would tell them that he is my friend that happens to be a boy. Then they would do this dance where everyone would clap their hands, like the chicken dance, and all the kids would do it. It was hilarious."
The great feeling after accomplishing something great is unmatched. There's the warm feeling in the chest and the clear conscious of the mind. When everything around you is not well, there is always that gleaming smile on a 10-year old that can turn that frown upside down.
"Getting involved feels very good actually. I get so busy with school and volleyball and I'll get home and think about not going because it's stressful to fit into my schedule sometimes. But then I go and when I'm leaving it's a great feeling. The little kids give me hugs or something like that. It's really rewarding and then I leave and say 'I can't wait to go back'."
Though Alex is an energetic person with a lot of communication skills, she uses her knowledge of public relations in her approach not only with teammates, but with community service events she attends.
"That's what made me think of communications and PR, like with volleyball and talking with teammates and also just associating with the media. You not only get interaction, but you get to see how you relate to different people through community service. It can carry over to things I do later in life and PR."
As her time here in Tallahassee dwindles, Alex still feels it is very important to try to give back to the town where she will have lived in for four years and to try to make the fans feel as much apart of the team as the team feels apart of them.
"People come and support us, and as an athlete it makes you feel apart of something. You make friends with it and meet more people and it helps us support each other. It really does make you feel good about yourself. Then you see the reaction that some kids have and you see that you make a difference and can do something that is important to someone else."
Kids love her, the fans support her and she is just trying to say thank you to the place she has called home away from her home in Clearwater, Fla. To them, she would like to return the favor and the joy they have given her.