GIRLS BASKETBALL

Lighthouse girls basketball team opens winter break with community service

2013-12-23T19:45:00Z 2013-12-23T22:42:12Z Lighthouse girls basketball team opens winter break with community serviceHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com
December 23, 2013 7:45 pm  • 

Royal Farr was waiting for days like Monday since it was announced what the Lighthouse girls basketball team would be doing over winter break.

"I. Can't. Wait," said the junior power forward before Monday's community service project with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana in Gary.

"I feel like it's an opportunity not only for us to give back to the community, but to help specific people that are in need, and that need food. They have a chance to be with somebody that's not just their family, and we have a chance to be with our teammates."

Lighthouse coach Katie Kirley, also the school's assistant principal, reached out to the food bank to help her players accrue some of their 20 hours of community service required by the school every year.

In addition to helping Gary residents, Kirley figured this would be a great bonding experience for her young team. 

"During the holiday season, everyone wants to spend time with their families, and all season we talk about the basketball team as a family," Kirley said.

"We're not only spending time together as a basketball family, but we can get into the community and give back."

The Lighthouse schools -- one in West Gary, one in Gary and one in East Chicago -- merged to start the year.

Creating a family atmosphere has been important to help create a program within the school.

Students in grades 7-12 were part of the community service initiative Monday.

"We are like a family," sophomore point guard Destiny Browning said. "We always stick together. Sometimes we have our ups and downs, but we're always together."

Community service projects at the school have varied from walking for breast cancer to helping the Salvation Army pick up clothes. Kirley said this is the first time she's asked her team to work together during the holidays.

There are no winter break tournaments scheduled for the Lions.

"It's something that the girls have said they're really, really excited to do," Kirley said. "A lot of other kids have other plans on the first day of Christmas break. They might be sleeping in or going to the mall.

"These kids are happy being with their teammates and working in their community."

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