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Molly Birch
Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

NMU CARES — President Brock Tessman shares his feelings on the universitys new CARE Team. Photo Courtesy of Northern Michigan University
Letter to the Editor — Our New CARE Team
Brock Tessman February 23, 2024

Athletes volunteer time at Beacon House

The athletic teams on campus have started a new volunteering tradition within the Marquette community.

Head swimming and diving coach Heidi Voigt began a program this year to benefit the Beacon House residents through a rotating volunteer schedule between sport teams. The program sets up Tuesday evenings for the athletes to serve food to Beacon House residents.

Voigt said she organized the program this past summer, prior to the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

The men’s wrestling team was one of many NMU athletic teams that has volunteered their time at the Beacon House in Marquette to serve food to guests. Athletic teams will be volunteering every Tuesday this academic year. (Anthony Viola NW)
The men’s wrestling team was one of many NMU athletic teams that has volunteered their time at the Beacon House in Marquette to serve food to guests. Athletic teams will be volunteering every Tuesday this academic year. (Anthony Viola NW)

“I’ve had ideas of trying to do something for the Beacon House and I talked to other coaches,” Voigt said. “They were very supportive and every team is signed up to cover two Tuesdays.”

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The Beacon House is a private, nonprofit organization that has housed more than 150,000 guests since opening in 2003.

The Beacon House functions as a hospitality house in order to accommodate patients receiving care in the Marquette community, along with accommodating caregivers and family.

Director of Development, Mary (Tavernini) Dowling said the volunteers have made such a difference to the guests.

“[The guests] have something wonderful to look forward to on Tuesdays,” Dowling said. “It is absolutely the most wonderful distraction from the reason they’re here. The food is just part of it. What has really made the difference are these wonderful young people taking the time to talk to them and to listen to them. The guests are so interested in the athletes and what it is like in their different sports.”

Voigt was able to get enough support for the program so that one athletic team is signed up to volunteer for each Tuesday evening throughout the entire academic year.

Aside from the athletic teams, the cheerleaders, USOEC wrestlers, sports administration and even rec sports will be putting aside time to volunteer at least one Tuesday throughout the year.

Voigt said the program has been going great.

“We’ve had customers staying at the Beacon House and it sounds like they just love it,” Voigt said. “One gentleman lost his wife, and he said it’s great to have someone to talk to. They really appreciate it and I think the teams have really enjoyed it.”

Voigt said her swimming and diving team aims to engage in a lot of volunteer work throughout the year and they have thoroughly enjoyed working at the Beacon House.

Dowling said the schedule has been set up for the year so that she can let guests know which teams will be coming in each week. The Beacon House then prepares the guests for each team and sets up welcome signs and notes on the guests’ doors.

Dowling said many of the guests are from somewhere a little further away, but they still keep track of the athletes after returning to their hometowns.

“Some (of the guests) have been watching papers,” Dowling said. “The guests are seeing how [the athletes] are doing and how they are coming along.”

Voigt has signs made up to be placed in restaurant windows in support of the program. In addition, Voigt and Dowling both welcome any businesses that would like to donate food or meals.

The athletic teams are currently budgeting the food out of their own funds. Voigt said any donations would be very appreciated, and the athletes would be able to pick up any food donations.

For any donation items, contact Heidi Voigt at (906) 227-2827 or via email at [email protected].

“We are very grateful to Northern, students, student athletes and coaches,” Dowling said. “Everyone has been beyond our imagination, so warm, welcoming, hospitable and generous in preparing food, costs, money and spending hours of their time, and the guests are very thankful.”

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