Francesca Enea is a junior student athlete for the University of Florida. Her passions fall somewhere between volunteering within the community and playing softball. She is an active member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and weekly mentors a middle school student with the CAMP Gator program.
CAMP (Collegiate Athlete Mentoring Program) Gator is a leadership mentoring program in which collegiate athletes and student leaders serve as mentors to at-risk students. The hallmark of the program is leadership training that mentors and mentees complete collaboratively; creating mission and vision statements, partaking in service leadership projects and even the creation of a leadership skills video. Mentors and mentees meet each week and represent a diverse student population in terms of race, gender, academic success and socioeconomic class.
The curricular foundation of the program is leadership training that focuses on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People where participants learn how to be more productive on the playing field, in the classroom and throughout the community. The middle school students were introduced to collegiate life through campus outings. For some, it was the first time on campus. For the college students, it was an opportunity to illustrate to them the power of teaching and the field of education, many of whom represent the demographic groups so desperately needed in our schools.
Francesca is also very enthusiastic about special events that directly affect the Gainesville community. Over the last three years she has participated in many volunteering opportunities including Shands hospital visits and Habitat for Humanity.
It wasn’t until this year that she was able to create a larger impact on these events. In the fall of 2008, Francesca was the co-director of the student athletes participation with the Climb for Cancer. That experience fueled her desire to help cancer patients in Gainesville and especially at Shands.
In the beginning of this year Francesca planned, coordinated and ran the first ever Swing for Cancer event, with some assistance from the university Athletic Association marketing team, in order to raise money for cancer research at Shands.
Through her experiences working with and for her community, Francesca has learned many lessons that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. More importantly, she has been able to see the difference that she has made in other people’s lives. Whether it is the smile on the children’s faces at Shand’s or the improvements that her mentee has made in a year, volunteering doesn’t seem to be a job or a task but instead a privilege.