At Berry College, student-athletes live by the same motto that college founder Martha Berry lived by. “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister,” the motto says.
In 2000, a group of Berry student-athletes came together and founded Athletes Bettering the Community, an organization aimed at making an impact in the Rome/Floyd County area. Today, nearly every Berry student-athlete takes part in ABC.
Through the ABC experience, Vikings and Lady Vikings fill a variety of needs throughout the area on various service days during the year. Student-athletes have served at the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, after school programs at various elementary schools, assisted living homes homeless shelters and many others locations. Whether they were playing tag on the playground, reading a Dr. Seuss book, planting trees or washing ambulances, Berry student-athletes have become known throughout Rome and Floyd County for their service to others as much as for their success on the athletic fields.
Outside of ABC, several individual teams also donate their time and efforts into community service. From giving free sports clinics to spending time with school children to working with groups such as Habitat For Humanity, Berry’s teams are making their mark in the community.
One example of Berry’s selfless giving is former baseball player Tyler Coats, who was a leader in ABC, but spent countless hours on his own donating time to various projects. Coats worked with Habitat for Humanity, helped a local elementary school student improve his reading skills and served as a mentor to an elementary school student. Coats, who donates approximately 100 hours a year, was named the Top Male Amateur Athlete Role Model in the state of Georgia by the Boy Scouts Atlanta Area Chapter, and was the only NAIA recipient of the Coca Cola Community Servica All-American award, both in 2004. Coats, an Athletic and Academic All-American, is just one example of how Berry College student-athletes better the community.