Last week, the Ramapo College Men’s Soccer team took off their cleats and shin guards, and headed to Ridgewood for the Partial Care Annual Picnic for West Bergen Mental Healthcare. Dj Pinton, coach, and the soccer players cooked and served all of the food for the event and participated in activities with the members of the Partial Care Program.
Pinton said that a Ramapo College Soccer team alumni has a close relationship with the organization, and asked if the team could help out with the picnic.
“They jumped on the opportunity,” said Pinton. “Our team always makes a point to volunteer in the community when we get the chance.”
After the soccer team made lunch, they participated in arts and crafts with members of the program. The players interacted with the members very well, even the shortest conversations left smiles on the patients’ faces. Towards the end of the day, the members of the West Bergen Mental Healthcare group put on an art show for the team and other guests at the picnic.
Men’s soccer team member James Merges, freshmen, said he had a great time at the picnic. He thought it was nice to bring the patients to a different environment for a, “fun and beautiful day in the park,” he said.
“The experience was amazing and fulfilling, it opened up my eyes a little bit more to how fortunate I truly am, and how good it feels to help out the community,” Merges said.
Overall, the experience proved to be rewarding for Pinton and the players. Giving back to the community, especially with such a meaningful, interactive event was the best part. Pinton said he was proud that his team stepped up as volunteers.
“It showed the players a different dimension of the community where they attend college. It gave them a chance to give back to others and learn more about the work that is being done,” Pinton said.
The team was able to take a lot away from the chance to get together and do something helpful for the community off the field. Merges said that this experience helped to unify the team, as they all got to practice selflessness, helping the team to learn to give back to the community and each other as a team.
Pinton said that the West Bergen Mental Healthcare group was very thankful.
“The group said afterwards, without the help of our players they would not have been able to put on the event. That is very important to us, to be able to help out,” he said.