After spending a week of their vacation volunteering in Peru, Utica High senior Nicole Vitale and her mother know the gratification that comes from giving back.
Upon her return, Vitale’s cheer coach, Michelle Delekta, admits the trip inspired her to think of ways that her team could help those around it.
“I know when they came back and told me about their mission trip, that kind of got the gears turning that we need to do more too,” Delekta said.
The result was a planned trip to Waltonwood Senior Living in Sterling Heights Dec. 27.
The excursion is especially meaningful to Vitale because her grandma, Ann Snow, is a resident there.
“It feels good to put a smile on their faces and bring some joy to them,” Vitale said. “I’m excited to hang out with my grandma and her friends for the day and give back.”
Delekta said the team plans to perform for the residents and play games with them, like euchre and charades. Some of the money raised by the Chieftains during annual fundraising is being used to provide prizes.
The coach added that because the sport forces athletes to focus solely on their own performance during competitions, instead of an opposing team, seeing them concentrate others is a nice change of pace.
“I want to see them give back,” Delekta said. “I’m excited to see them feel some emotion from giving.
“It’s of those things that I think afterwards, (the team will) be grateful.”
Vitale said she believes giving back is important.
“We take for granted what we have, and I learned that in Peru,” she said. “It feels good to give back, and I think it’ll be a taste for my team of what I felt there.”