by Andrew Garda

For athletes at Montclair Kimberley Academy, what they do off the field is as important as what they do on it.

To that end, this past August the MKA athletic community took part in a community service initiative.

The school sent out over 200 athletes and coaches across Montclair and the surrounding communities to, “gain some perspective, give back to others and learn what ‘paying it forward’ is truly about,” Athletic Director Todd Smith wrote in an email.

“As an MKA student athlete it’s imperative that they have a true understanding of working with each other and giving back to our community and to help those that may be less fortunate or need help and/or assistance in some way,” Smith wrote.

Cross country coach Matt Bach took his team to Brookdale Park, since they train there.

“We couldn’t think of a more meaningful way to spend our time than to further beautify the gem we have in Brookdale Park, including Tom [Fleming’s] memorial, for our benefit but also for the benefit of the people of Montclair and the surrounding towns,” he said

New girls volleyball coach Molli Dowd took her team to St. Ann’s Soup Kitchen in Newark.

“The girls helped prepare and serve food, distribute water bottles and baked goods, helped organize the literacy library center and packaged hangers for the upcoming coat drive,” Dowd said, adding it was just as fulfilling for those at the Soup Kitchen as it was for her team.
“The visitors of St. Ann’s were incredibly thankful and excited to see a group of the younger generation taking part in helping out their community. By being there and participating we helped carry forward the St. Anns' motto of ‘dignity and respect for all.’ It was a wonderful learning and incredibly memorable experience.”