BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 21 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts. The 18th annual women’s volleyball Community Service Team follows:
Aliyah Wells, Sophomore, Middle Blocker, Alabama
Wells was one of the Crimson Tide’s leaders in its community service efforts during the 2020-21 school year. As a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council, she was a voice for many of the initiatives brought about by athletes across all of Alabama’s sports, especially in outreach and unity efforts for social justice throughout the summer of 2020 and through the school year. Wells volunteered with the Alberta Head Start program, reading books virtually to young students. She also volunteered her time to the Turning Point Foundation food drive, Tuscaloosa Parks and Recreation Authority’s Summer Day Camp and organized the team’s participation in the virtual St. Jude Walk/Run to End Alzheimer’s. Wells also participated in Alabama athletic department’s annual campaigns with Halloween Extravaganza and Beat Auburn, Beat Hunger.
Elizabeth Pamphile, Senior, Middle Blocker, Arkansas
Pamphile has been a leader on and off the court, making sure to represent the entire University of Arkansas and volleyball program extremely well. During the 2020-21 season, she participated in nine different community service events, beginning in August with a collection day for donated items for the local Peace at Home Family Shelter. Pamphile has joined zoom calls with local elementary classes impacting 144 local students, reading to the students and hosting virtual Hog Calls. She gave thanks to our local veterans and wrote letters to the veterans at our local VA for Veteran’s Day in November as well. Pamphile joined efforts with other Arkansas student-athletes to reach the next generation as a part of Arkansas’ “Book Hogs” program. She also took part in the creation of an MLK Day video, in an effort to celebrate MLK and his impact on our country as an advocate for racial equality. As a big proponent for women in sports, Pamphile spent time in February participating in an event for National Women in Sports Day. She is also an active member with the Arkansas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Arkansas’s newest group Hogs UNITED, dedicated to promoting education, advocacy, and action in the areas of diversity and inclusive excellence. Hogs UNITED is a collaborative effort between the student-athletes, coaches, and staff at the University of Arkansas Athletic Department. After graduation this May, Pamphile has accepted a position at PepsiCo as a Sales Distribution Leader.
Thayer Hall, Junior, Outside Hitter, Florida
Hall has been involved in numerous activities to help the Gainesville community during her time as a Gator. She participated in visits to UF Shands, where members of different Florida athletic teams visit with children that are patients in the hospital. Hall has also participated in the Climb for Cancer event. This event has taken place for the last 15 years at UF and the camp allows the participants to just be children playing, leaving behind the medicine and cancer treatments for a morning of fun. Hall also helped run the Night to Shine Gainesville, which was a one-night prom run for people with special needs. She welcomed each of the 300 attendees as they walked down the red carpet on their special night. Hall accompanied about a dozen of them down the red carpet helping them feel like celebrities. After the red carpet, she took pictures and joined the dance party of the prom. Hall also volunteered at the Hidden Oak Fun Run, taking place at a local elementary school. At the run, she helped pass out water, count laps for students and motivated the students to finish strong. Hall has also met with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, where she gave feedback about upcoming legislation and the SEC Student-Athlete Experience.
Sage Naves, Junior, Middle Blocker, Georgia
Naves serves the University of Georgia and Athens communities in a number of ways. She volunteers her time with iServe Ministries. With iServe, Naves aids in distributing groceries to families in needs in Clarke County. Once a month, iServe brings an 18-wheeler full of food and the iServe team loads upwards of 300 cars for families most in need. Naves also volunteers her time with the Boys and Girls Club of Athens and Special Olympics at UGA through the annual Hometown Rivals baseball game. In 2017, she joined a mission trip to Uganda. Naves is one of the volleyball team representatives on UGA SAAC and was a 2019 inductee to the University of Georgia Leadership Education and Development (L.E.A.D.) program. She is a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and Dean’s List.
Avery Skinner, Senior, Outside Hitter, Kentucky
Volunteering hundreds of hours of community service all over the world, Skinner has even gone to Ethiopia as part of a mission where she fed kids, visited orphanages, and hospitals. She has also spent time with the St. Joseph East Hospital NICU, UK Early Childhood Lab, Dance Blue for Pediatric Cancer, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, The Lexington Hearing and Speech Center, and the Step by Step Program with childcare for single mothers and summer camps.
Aubrey Sultemeier, Junior, Middle Blocker, Ole Miss
Sultemeier participated in reading with the Rebels, reading children’s books to students in the LOU community. She took part in the Oxford Park Commissions Volleyball clinic and assisted in the collection of books and bears that were donated to the UM Books and Bears Christmas program as a part of the annual program. Sultemeier also worked with the Adopt-A-Basket program as the Ole Miss athletics department collects and donates Thanksgiving baskets to families in need. She developed, organized and led the initiative with the Red Sand Display to bring awareness to human trafficking during Human Trafficking Awareness month. Sultemeier encouraged residents at the Elmcroft of Oxford Assisted Living Facility to stay physically active by participating in volleyball exercises. She is a member of the Ole Miss Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the SEC SAAC Executive Board. Sultemeier participates on the SEC Racial Equity and Social Justice initiative.
Katie Culumovic, Sophomore, Setter, Mississippi State
Culumovic’s passion for art and community service led her to participate in the creation of a children’s activity book for Lebonheur Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. The Simpsonville, South Carolina, native is a talented artist, and in her free time she creates pieces for others. She enjoys when her art encourages and uplifts the people around her and wants to share her gift with as many people as possible.¬ Additionally, Culumovic and her teammates addressed letters to the residents of Carrington Nursing Center in Starkville, sending them positive messages while they are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. She also participated in the Stronger Together Initiative in March, which sent water to members of the Jackson, Mississippi, community impacted by the water shortage and boil notice following winter storms.
Kylie Deberg, Senior, Outside Hitter, Missouri
Deberg leads the Tigers in individual community service hours logged throughout her Mizzou career. She has produced 41.5 hours of community service overall, including Mizzou Volleyball Black & Gold Youth Clinic, Columbia Elementary School Open Houses, Columbia Mall Meet & Greet, Tiger Food for Friends, Missouri Show Me State Games, United Way and MS Institute. Deberg has contributed at multiple events in each season since arriving to Mid-Missouri (2018-present). A three-time selection on the All-SEC Volleyball Team, she was named a 2019 AVCA Second-Team All-American and a 2019 AVCA Honorable Mention All-American. Deberg was also named to the AVCA Southeast All-Region Team in 2018 and 2019.
Courtney Weber, Junior, Setter, South Carolina
Weber has already totaled 97 hours of community service going into the spring 2021 semester. This year, she has volunteered for visits to local middle schools and the city’s Children’s Hospital. In years prior, Weber totaled 43 hours in 2019-20 working with Meals on Wheels and the Christopher Towers senior living center. In her first year at South Carolina, she committed 48 hours in projects like Read Across America, The Therapy Place and senior center visits. As an active member of the South Carolina Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Weber currently serves as a Junior Officer and chairs the Special Events sub-committee for this 2020-21 school year. Academically, she is a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member as a chemistry major at South Carolina.
Giana Pellizzon, Junior, Defensive Specialist, Tennessee
Pellizzon has been very active in community service efforts since her arrival on Rocky Top. She has spent time working with the Knoxville Area Rescue Mission, Eagleton Clinic, VolsHELP, Night to Shine, a variety of SAAC projects as well as helping with UT’s Sports Fest. Pellizzon has helped organize and work Tennessee’s annual Voloween, which brings children and their families from around Knoxville into UT’s athletic facilities for a night of fun and games and trick-or-treating in a safe environment. She has volunteered with A Night to Shine, giving those with special needs ages 14 and older an unforgettable prom night experience.
Texas A&M Volleyball Team
Texas A&M University and its students stand on the core values of respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity and selfless service, and look to apply those values in their day-to-day lives. In the Texas A&M volleyball program, student-athletes add the core values of family, choice and voice to emphasize the roles that the team has on each other, as well as our community in Aggieland and around the world. Aggie volleyball has chosen to take a step toward excellence through acts of selfless service, with team members utilizing their platforms as student-athletes to give back to their communities while taking an introspective look at their own lives. The team partnered with several different services throughout the Brazos Valley including the Brazos Valley Food Bank, with the team raising more than $770 to support families in the Bryan-College Station area facing food insecurity. Aggie Volleyball visited the WaterFord retirement home, where they had the opportunity to create posters and bring smiles to the patients. Recently, the squad made and sent cards to the Ronald McDonald House Charity, which provides support to children facing hospitalization. Earlier in March, the Maroon & White partnered with the Side-Out Foundation for their annual Dig Pink match, raising $4,000 for breast cancer awareness and research. Throughout the 2020-21 campaign, Texas A&M volleyball has partnered with Still Creek Ranch in order to help mentor children from traumatic environments in an effort to break multi-generational cycles of crises and help young people lead rich and fulfilling lives. Finally, the Aggies joined our fellow Southeastern Conference institutions in an effort to Block Out Racism, delivering the proceeds from the team’s initiative to the Brazos Valley African-American Museum. Texas A&M volleyball has fought, and will continue to fight against the forces of inequality that pervade our nation and our world, as Aggie volleyball remains Unified as One with our fellow Texas A&M athletics programs.