RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Any college basketball player knows what the late autumn means – ramped up conditioning drills which lead into the beginning of official practices. For Felician College players and coaches, the season signifies another milestone – the start of their annual community service efforts.
This year, the Golden Falcons, guided by sixth-year coach Steve Fagan, took part in two events in their Rutherford community. On Sept. 29, team members volunteered at the Rutherford Recreation Department's Ninth Annual Touch-A-Truck. The Felician players then served as chaperones and judges at the annual Rutherford Ragamuffin Parade
The Borough of Rutherford is home to one of Felician's two Bergen County campuses. The Felician College Rutherford Campus houses, among other offices and amenities, the school's athletics department and dormitories. It is also home to the recently-refurbished Iviswold Castle.
The Touch-A-Truck was held at Memorial Park. Borough youngsters ages 3-12 were allowed to climb on, sit in, and enjoy many of the trucks they experience in their everyday lives. An ambulance, sanitation truck and fire truck were among the offerings, as well as a Felician College van. The Felician players painted the children's faces and assisted them in entering and exiting the vehicles
"It's fun to watch the faces of the kids and their parents, and to meet people around the neighborhood," said Felician tri-captain Que Lyles, a senior from Bronx, N.Y. "A lot of the local people don't know that we're right down the block. So by working these events, the local people can see that we're here and that we care."
The Ragamuffin Parade featured children from a similar age bracket, dressed in full Halloween costumes. It began at Rutherford High School and made its way to Lincoln Park, where prizes and treats were distributed and a costume contest held. The Golden Falcons, also in head-to-toe costumes, guided the marchers through the route.
"It was amazing to see how creative everyone was with their costumes," Lyles said. "It was also nice how supportive all the parents were at both events."
The Touch-A-Truck and Ragamuffin Parade were two of many service projects that the Felician women's basketball team has planned. The Golden Falcons will sponsor a holiday food drive at their Nov. 26 home game against Post University. A breast cancer fundraiser and a Junior Falcon Day are also planned for the spring semester.