Weeks ago, St. Mary’s junior Hadley Chadwick wondered if there was any way she could find a way to inject a little light in a year marred by misery.
With her father, Chris, they found it. Chadwick had helped the St. Mary’s’ Easter basket drive earlier in the year. She thought, why not do something similar for Christmas?
Aided by her girls lacrosse coach, Mindy Jones, Chadwick sent emails to her teammates with a simple mission: donate what you can to help make the holiday season for underprivileged people at the Annapolis Light House shelter a bit brighter. The sign-up list filled up quickly as more than 30 junior varsity and varsity teammates and their families volunteered to help and donate items to fill stockings for the shelter’s children.
Chadwick learned about the children at the Light House shelter: their names, ages and what was allowed to be dropped off. On Dec. 21, Chadwick and teammate Addie Levy collected the items and delivered candy, stuffed animals, baby blankets for the youngest and gift cards for the teenagers.
Giving back to other people in Annapolis strengthened the ties to her newest town for Chadwick. Though she’s attended St. Mary’s all of her three high school years, the junior has moved around because of her father’s job.
Chadwick gravitated towards helping others because of her father, a career United States Navy officer who set an example for her all childhood. She remembers her father setting up a toy drive for the children of one of her many temporary towns in Connecticut.
“Doing this for them made me really think of how much the people gave back there,” Chadwick said. “I wanted to do it up again here.”
This last summer, Chadwick watched her father donate his own kidney to a co-worker in need.
“He always raised us to do what we felt was right, no matter what, and to always reach out to people who needed help,” Chadwick said. “It was always a big part of my life to try to reach out and always do whatever I can to volunteer my time.”
As a coach who’s worked to give charity through her tenure at St. Mary’s, Jones fully supports her players looking for ways to benefit their community, too.
Even so, the initiative her team showed in giving back during the holidays impressed her.
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“I think it speaks volumes of St. Mary’s and the type of student athletes that we have within our school,” Jones said, “that our kids are always looking to support one another and support those that are less fortunate, that they recognize that they are privileged in the situation, or they have many opportunities.”