The outstanding performance of the PUC Pioneers is not limited to their practice and games. They are stars, both on and off the field and court. Recently, members of the women's volleyball and basketball teams, and the men's soccer team collaborated with Hope City, a faith-based volunteer camp located in Middletown, Calif. Hope City helps out with various projects, and this summer the Pioneers participated in two of them.
Last summer on September 12th, a massive, fast moving wildfire broke out in Lake County and Napa Country area. As a result, more that 50,000 acres were burned, nearly 2,000 structures destroyed, and thousands of people evacuated, with four casualties and four firefighter injured. After the fires were contained, Hope City started their Home Build Program. The mission of the program is to assist families that were affected by the 2015 Lake County fire. The building process started in March 2016. Many hands all over the country and Canada banded together in raising money and volunteering to accomplish this task.
During the first project, the men's soccer team and women's volleyball team drove down to Middletown early one Sabbath morning to assist with the rebuilding of houses. Part of Hope City's goal is to build 60-100 homes from the ground up and equip them with high efficiency appliances. The Pioneers worked in various areas of plotting, roofing, and laying foundations, while others volunteered in the donation center.
Paul Castillo, coach of the women’s volleyball team, said, "I was really pleased with how the Pioneers worked that day. They were under the impression they were going to feed the homeless or help in a way that was less laboring. When they found out they were helping rebuild homes for the people who have lost everything they went right to work. I have been coaching for many years and have had many different teams. I fully expected complaints and whining about working hard in the sun, but there were none. They went right to work!"
The second project involved help from the women's basketball team. Once again they were in Middletown, but their task was a little different. They spent the entire day building beds for the homes that would need furniture soon. At the conclusion of each service day, Hope City was kind in providing lunch, water, and a lot of support.
"When we were finishing up, we had the opportunity to talk to some of the people working with us. One man told us that the homes we were working on belonged to him. I looked at the students faces and saw the realization and importance of what they have been doing sink in with them," said Coach Castillo.
The other volunteers working with Hope City and recipients of the homes showed nothing but gratitude and look forward to partnering with PUC again in the future. Many of the victims didn't just lose their homes, but they lost a lifetime of memories they can never get back. They have lost irreplaceable items and family heirlooms. But with organizations like Hope City, and the work of the Pioneers athletes and many others, it helps make sure that the victims never lose hope. Although winning games is important, it is crucial in remembering that the number one goal should be service.
"Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon." – Isaiah 58:10