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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (June 25, 2017) – Virginia Juniors 14 Elite (Chesapeake Region Volleyball Association) was presented Team Travel Source’s inaugural Community Service Award and a prize of $1,000 Sunday afternoon on the opening day of the 38th Annual USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships. Team Travel Source is a corporate partner of USA Volleyball.

The Team Travel Source Community Service Award is presented to one junior volleyball team that has made it a mission to improve its community through service and is committed to making the world a better place to live.

Virginia Juniors 14 Elite had come face-to-face with homelessness during its travels for volleyball. Instead of just walking by and ignoring the issue, the team members decided they wanted to do something to help.

The team completed a service project called “Blessing Bags.” These Blessing Bags were gallon-sized baggies filled with practical items such as toiletries, snacks and water as well as gift cards to local restaurants. Each team member took these bags with them to a recent tournament in Philadelphia and handed them out to the homeless on their walk to the venue. According to its nomination form, the joy and satisfaction the team members experienced while carrying out the service project allowed the athletes to see that they really could make a difference in the lives of others and that there is no greater joy than giving back.

“We put together bags of socks, oatmeal and sandwiches and everything that someone who is less fortunate would need for a week,” said Virginia Juniors 14 Elite captain Sarah Jordan. “We just wanted to wanted to give back and be grateful for what we have.”

When asked if the program will live beyond 2017, Jordan said the plans are to keep the community service project going next season.

“Yes, we will continue the project and take it everywhere we play,” Jordan stated.

Team Travel Source was impressed with the Virginia Juniors Elite 14’s initiative to tackle a tough issue in many communities, even when that community may not be the club’s hometown.

“At Team Travel Source, we wanted to honor a team that really went out of their way to better their community,” Team Travel Source Executive Director Kelley Roberts said. “We feel that Virginia Juniors 14 Elite not only decided to help others in their own community, but they noticed a very real problem while they were traveling and decided to do something to help. The level of maturity of this team to decide to make a difference while they were out of town competing was so impressive to us, and we were touched reading their story. We can only hope their service project will inspire others to do the same. We are proud to award Virginia Juniors 14 Elite with this Inaugural Community Service Award, and we can’t imagine a more deserving recipient!”

Finalists for this award were nominated, and the winner was selected by a committee consisting of Team Travel Source team members, trusted business and education professionals, and USAV staff.