Oct. 6, 2008
BOSTON, MA - For the past two seasons, the Women's Volleyball program at UMass Boston has been very fortunate to have a player like senior libero Alessandra Adamo. The co-captain's leadership has helped the 2008 Beacons jump out to one of the best starts in program history. Adamo has not only accepted, but excelled in her role as first off the bench to help pick up the defensive intensity during important set points. She's always willing to lend a hand, be in on the court with a clutch dig or off the court in a community service project.
Since becoming a member of the UMass Boston community in 2005, Adamo has taken an active interest in service work. During the winter of `05, she travelled down to New Orleans, LA on a mission trip to provide help to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Her tasks included searching through the remains of houses to find any memorable items that might be of interest to the families and to then help clear away anything that could not be salvaged.
"The trip to New Orleans was so eye-opening and got me very interested in all the community service work I've been doing," said Adamo. "At first it seemed horrible, talking to these families that just had their whole lives of hard work ripped away because of a storm, but the other side of it was seeing how incredible the human spirit could be after such an event. These families were amazing, the dynamics were unparalleled to anything I'd ever seen and it really got me thinking how lucky I am. After that first trip, whenever I was stressed or having a bad day I would just think about those families and what they had to endure. It was a reality check, and it keeps me humble every single day."
The experience in New Orleans motivated Adamo to become a member of the 2006 summer staff at Camp Shriver. The camps mission is to promote the social development of children with disabilities and increase their success in schools. The camp is a fully inclusive environement, where children with and without disabilities play and learn together.
"That was a great summer," said Adamo. "I learned so much from the kids and hopefully they learned a lot from me too. It's all about giving back, and I feel like the camp's mission does that for all of the parties involved."
Last winter, Adamo was ready to give back to another community in need of outside assistance, Kenya. Through the UAGO (United for African Growth Organization), she had planned a service trip to volunteer at local schools and hospitals but only days before the mission's scheduled departure, riots broke out in the Kenyan streets forcing Adamo to not make the flight overseas.
Although very disappointed, Adamo knew there would be other chances to give back to those in need. One such opportunity presented itself this fall, another mission to Kenya, and guess whose name was first on the sign up list.
"When I heard about this winter's service trip to Kenya, I was so excited," exclaimed Adamo. "Last winter the circumstances that cancelled the trip were things that we had no control over. Ever since my experience in New Orleans, I've wanted to try and make a difference in a community that would be appreciative of help. When we go to Kenya, we can give them hope and when we leave, the goal is for our mission to become their mission."
Overall, about 20 members of the UMass Boston community, including Adamo, will head to Kenya to complete service work in local schools, hospitals and neighborhoods. Everyone making the trip raised their own money to travel, totaling over \$1,500 dollars.
"It's just amazing, I don't know how she does it all," said Ken McNeely, Assistant Coach of the UMB Women's Volleyball team. "She's in a very tough nursing program, on a very competitive collegiate volleyball team, and on top of those two things she finds time to volunteer. It's incredible."
Besides the time she spends in class, playing volleyball and volunteering, Adamo somehow manages to work part time in the Spinal Cord Unit at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in West Roxbury, MA. There she spends time working with many war veterans putting to use her skills as a nursing major.
UMass Women's Volleyball Head Coach Terry Condon is very impressed with all of the extra curricular accomplishments that her senior Co-Captain has accumulated, but appreciates all that she has done for the team.
"Over the past two seasons, Alessandra has always been a great role model and team leader. She's like the team Mom, the oldest and wisest member of the squad. Everyone goes to her and she's done an excellent job of getting her teammates ready for every match. She just wants to win and for the team to do as well as they can. Here's a player who never complains about playing time, and will do whatever it takes to motivate her teammates so they feel the same way. Our team will miss her next year, that's for sure," said Condon.
Before Adamo is ready to hang up her volleyball shoes, she hopes the Beacons can continue to work towards their main goal for the 2008 season, qualifying for the NCAA tournament.
"This year's team has what it takes to win. The athleticism, drive to motivate each other and determination are all there," said Adamo. "This season we brought in by far the best group of recruits the program has ever seen, and that's attributed to Coach Condon and her staff's hard work. We have no excuses; we just have to go out, play hard and do our job. So far, as a team, we've been very successful at that because we're just clicking. On and off the court, which is important for a team, especially at a commuter school like UMB. If we leave the court better than when we came on, there's no doubt in my mind that good things will continue to happen to our program."
Adamo is right, as long as she keeps lending a hand, be it on or off the court; good thing will follow.