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‘Cats care: Team gives back to local community

Jill Hirschinger likes to see her team relaxed and having fun. She also wants the Wildcats to give back to the seacoast community. The team obliged its head coach on Saturday morning when it hosted a free kids clinic in the Lundholm Gymnasium.
“It’s just our way of giving back to the community as much as we can,” senior Maggie Kenney said. “We received a lot from our communities, growing up as volleyball players.”
The Wildcats started off the day by making blankets and organizing magazines that the team has been collecting for weeks. The finished blankets and gently used magazines will be brought to the Wentworth-Douglass Medical Center for patients. The magazine drive has been one of the Wildcats’ biggest philanthropic drives of the season. It also gave the players a chance to bond and break the ice with the children.
The team then played games and taught the young community members some of the game’s nuances, such as serves, digs and spikes. The goal for the day, according to Hirschinger, was to foster a passion for the game.
At the end of the clinic, the team gave each of the participants UNH volleyball T-shirts and posters. Judging by the children’s delighted reactions and the lines to get the posters signed by the team, it would appear as though the team reached its goal.
For Kenney, the day was not just a way to give back to a community. Kenney is a Merrimack, New Hampshire native and enjoyed the ability to give back to her local community through the sport she loves.
“It’s really special that it is [my community]. Volleyball isn’t particularly big in New Hampshire—it’s not as big in New England as it is in the Midwest, as it is in California,” Kenney said. “Kids don’t really get this kind of exposure. I know I didn’t touch a volleyball until I was 15 years old and in high school.”
But true to the fun nature of the event, Kenney couldn’t help but smile when asked how many of the little kids she sees as future recruits for Hirschinger.
“Tons. I can see them all wearing UNH jerseys one day.”

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