TAMPA – Leisure time is a precious commodity in the life of University of South Florida junior Hayley Beck, a biomedical science major with a 3.7 grade point average.
But when the 22-year-old takes time out from her studies, she mainly opts to spend doing the two things she loves most: volunteering at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Tampa and skating at Brandon Ice Sports Forum.
In her two years as a hospital volunteer she’s logged in more than 140 hours, according to volunteer services supervisor Maria Bataclan.
Beck, who has aspirations of becoming a pediatric physician’s assistant, delights in her role of assisting radiology technicians and greeting patients and family members at the healthcare facility that specializes in treating youngsters needing orthopedic care.
The Miami native also takes pleasure in spending time on the ice, a hobby she said she got hooked on at the ripe young age of 5.
Her infatuation with the work being done with children at Shriners in Tampa coupled with her passion for skating led her to organize the recent Skating for Shriners fundraising event at the Brandon rink, whose management team donated the space, free of charge.
“I had wanted to do a project to give back for a while but could never think of anything unique,” Beck said. “And my friends have always wanted to see me skate, so one night it clicked.”
By way of a flyer and other means of communication, including social media, she sought donations from friends and sold $10 tickets to the performance, which consisted of individual performances by nine skaters, including Beck, six other young women, a young adult male and a pre-teen girl.
She also enlisted the support of several area businesses in the form of items for gift baskets that were raffled off to ticket holders in between performances.
The event exceeded Beck’s $1,000 goal by $251.
“It was so nice to see how the local community came together and gave back to the hospital,” she said. “When I was trying to build awareness of the fundraiser I really tried to convey how special and different this hospital is.”
Skater Kyle James, the sole male performer in the fundraiser, said he was impressed with how well Beck put it all together.
“I was honored to have been invited to skate in it,” James said. “I love skating and skating for a cause makes it even more fun.”
Shriners spokeswoman Jamie Santillo described Beck as a very compassionate and caring person.
“Her dedication to volunteering at our hospital and her efforts to organize the Skate for Shriners event to benefit our mission of providing expert pediatric orthopedic care regardless of a family’s ability to pay is a great example of her giving heart,” she said.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.