Troubies Deliver St. Francis Volleyballs on Service Trip


SOUTH DAKOTA – Rising senior Jessica Gianulias organized the donation of St. Francis volleyballs while on a service trip this summer in South Dakota.

Gianulias traveled with seven current and former classmates with the Global-7 non-profit organization service trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. They worked with girls between 6-10 years old part of the Oglala Lakota Indian Tribe.

Gianulias joined classmates Sonia Laskin (volleyball/soccer), Claire Schutz (volleyball), Jenna Murphy (soccer), Samantha Gates (swimming), Taylor Koewler (swimming) and Allie Fobes.

Global-7 is an international non-profit founded on the basis that seven high school students would fuel sustainable social projects in the developing world. Started by a seventeen-year-old young woman in Sacramento, CA, Global-7’s first achievement was in Los Platanos, Argentina in 2008. The initial three year project consisted of the following development strategies: technological advancement, educational opportunity, environmental sustainability, as well as health/nutrition.

One of the highlights included passing out some volleyball donated by the St. Francis Athletics Department. Gianulias secured the donation from Athletic Director Mark McGreevy and Head Coach Alynn Wright.

“They are so appreciative because they do not have a lot of things,” said Gianulias. “We tried to get as many things donated. Their eyes lit up when they got them. They were very thankful.”

The group had originally planned a trip to Nicaragua but was forced to change plans. Traveling to South Dakota, they worked with the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tri on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It is the second largest Indian Reservation in the United States and this population lives in conditions equivalent to those found among the poorest, third world countries.

 “The main focus of Global 7 is empowering women,” said Gianulias. “We want to reach out to the kids because it starts with them. We were trying to give the girls love and attention.”

The group also helped the girls with their hair, arts and crafts, while attending a POW-WOW.

Gianulias, a three-year member of the volleyball program, is excited about the upcoming season.

“I chose to do a lot of hard classes this year,” said Gianulias. “I want to keep the balance between academics and athletics.”

Volleyball tryouts for all three levels start on Monday.