Xavier College Preparatory’s junior varsity volleyball team is serving up sunshine in the lives of children who are experiencing health issues.

Xavier’s junior varsity volleyball team collected entertaining items for hospitalized children. Pictured here are (front row, from left): Anna Panagiotakopoulos, a coach and student-athletes Callie Ehman, Tatum Kramer and Rylee Elias; (middle row, from left): students Abby Gliss, Kaelyn Putz, Riley Ward, Reese Bozak, Kaira Burrage and Julia Popolizio, team manager; and (back row, from left): Jenny Scott, coach; and students Ava Larkin, Noelle Peterson, Trinity Tran, Camilla Cornejo-Farmer and Ella Dickson (photo courtesy of Xavier College Preparatory).

The team recently worked with The Jared Box to collect toys, games, crayons, coloring books and other fun activities for children in the hospital. This effort was named for Jared, the first young recipient of donations. Xavier volleyball players took in enough items to fill 20 boxes, which were delivered to child patients around the Valley.

Noelle Peterson, a sophomore outside hitter and captain of the JV volleyball team, said the outreach “was a great opportunity for our team.”

“I am happy to know that they will have smiles on their faces during such a hard time,” Noelle said.

Her teammate, Kaira Burrage, a freshman and outside hitter, said it is “important to spread happiness and focus on the positive things in life.” Kaira added that the activity helped her learn “to be more grateful for the simple things in my life like my health.” Tatum Kramer, a sophomore and middle blocker on the team, said she really enjoyed making the boxes for the children as it “gave me an opportunity to make a difference in their day.”

Jared Boxes offer a diversion for young patients staying in the emergency room, patients’ rooms, cancer care center, surgical centers and other medical centers where they receive medical treatment and tests. The boxes aim to calm patients’ nerves, boost their spirits and to let them know someone cares about them.