Program Spotlight – United Girls Basektball, Monmouth Illinois

Have a you ever wanted to make a big impact in your community? Have you ever wanted to find a way for your players to come together, serve others, and grow closer together? If that’s something you’ve wanted to incorporate into your program, we’ve got a great story for you!

Recently the United Girls Basketball from Monmouth, Illinois went above and beyond to make a huge impact on their community.  The girls were recently introduced to “The Six” exercise by their coach Julie Gartelos.

Big Idea Comes to Life

When asked to describe the exercise’s impact Coach Gartelos said, “This is the first year using The Six concept and it has been wonderful! The girls have really embraced the idea and the support for one and other is unmatched.”

What happened next was truly amazing. The United Girls Basketball program began making blankets for the less fortunate last year, and saw a great opportunity to combine community service with their “Six.”

Coach Gartelos explained how the idea came to be, “My nephew (who was born with a rare genetic disease called Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia) spent the first few weeks of his life and one Christmas in the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. They still use the blanket he was gifted in the NICU today; seven years later and it helps to serve as a reminder of all the obstacles he has overcome.”

Taking “The Six” To Another Level

Drawing from her nephews experience and the impact the gifted blanket had, Coach Gartelos brought an idea to her team: “We started making blankets last year and decided this year to do it again, but make it a partner activity with our Six. Last year I was trying to think of something we could do to give back during the holiday season. I then thought of all the people who unfortunately have to spend their holidays in the hospital.”

The team was fortunate to have many parents, teachers, and community members donate supplies for the blankets to be made. The team spent the second half of one practice making blankets, eating pizza, listening to Christmas music, and most importantly growing closer together as a team.

When asked to describe her team Coach Gartelos gushed, “I am fortunate enough to coach a wonderful group of girls with some of the biggest and caring hearts, and they fully embrace this activity.”

Impact On The Community

This year, the United Girls Basketball program was able to make a large donation to the University of Iowa’s Children Hospital in addition to making a donation to a local shelter.

The Lead ‘Em Up team and community would like to acknowledge, applaud, and say how grateful we are to see the impact the United Girls Basketball program is having. It’s bigger than the game. It’s about serving and building the future leaders our world desperately needs. Well done, United Girls Basketball!

When the leader improves, everybody wins!

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