GORHAM, Maine – On Saturday, February 2 during the Huskies' Little East Conference doubleheader (1:00 & 3:00 p.m.) with the UMass Boston Beacons, the University of Southern Maine women's basketball team, led by junior forward Chantel Eells (Turner, Maine/Leavitt) will host a fundraiser to benefit NFI North, Inc. as part of the Mental Health Awareness games at Hill Gymnasium. NFI North, Inc. is a multi-service agency that provides programming, consultation and individualized support services to children, youth, families, adults and seniors in a variety of settings.
Just a junior athletically, Eells, a William B. Wise Scholar Athlete and Dean's List student, will graduate with her bachelor's degree this May and has already been accepted into the Master's of Social Work program at Southern Maine. Since August, Eells has been interning with NFI North, Inc at its Beacon House. The Beacon House is a residential program that provides therapeutic services to adolescents.
"In my role as intern at the Beacon House, I support a Clinical Social Worker and a Case Worker," said Eells. "There is a tremendous amount of work being done through the NFI network and at the Beacon House specifically. This internship has been a positive experience and has enlightened me to the numerous roles social workers play in all facets of life."
In addition to completing an internship as part of her undergraduate degree, Eells must also complete a Capstone Project. Citing her experiences with NFI North, Inc, Eells decided to focus her Capstone Project on a fundraising effort to benefit the Beacon House, and is seeking to secure funds to purchase a tree swing for the residence. Donation jars will be available at the gate for fans, and there will be a raffle for an autographed USM basketball shirt during both the men's and women's basketball games.
"I saw a need, however small, and I am hoping that as a community we can assist NFI North, Inc.," said Eells. "The therapeutic recreation provided at the Beacon House helps its residents make improvements in physical, cognitive and social areas of their lives, and an addition of a tree swing to the facility would give the staff another way to provide this benefit. I spend a lot of time on my studies and as a member of the basketball team, so I figured the best way to fundraise would be to combine both of them. I'm very appreciative of the athletic department for allowing me to use the games as an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for this project."