For the past two years, SoCal Select Allstars has been one of the top fundraising gyms for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They’ve had the opportunity to not only tour the hospital but also meet and interact with St. Jude patients and families. As a small gym, it is not easy to be one of the top fundraising programs, but gym owner Steven Schimenti stops at nothing for this special cause.

“After visiting St. Jude, I am overwhelmed by the generosity and care that not only the kids receive during their stays but also how the families are supported so well. As a coach of kids ages 5-18, an uncle, and hoping to have kids of my own someday, I know that if it is ever needed St. Jude would be there for me and for that reason I will forever help this special place in any way I can.”

Steve explained that after visiting St. Jude, his goal was to share his experience with everyone he could. SoCal Select hosts events year round to raise money for the hospital. For example, the coaching staff donates their time and offers “Free Skills Clinics” where the athletes can come in just for St. Jude donations. They also do fundraiser showcases and raffles, and always have a donation bucket in the front of the gym. These efforts initiated by Steve and the coaching staff does not stop there however, these movements have trickled down to each of the athletes on an individual level.

Jessica Thai just finished her senior year at SoCal Select and while being on four separate teams, taking honors classes, and managing a part time job, she took on a special goal for St. Jude this past season.

“I was fortunate to be able to visit St. Jude in 2015 and that left a huge impression on me. So this year I came up with the idea to collect the empty water bottles during a choreography. Our team went through a trash bag full of water bottles. When I realized no one was planning on taking the bottles to the recycling center and they were just headed to the landfill, I volunteered to take it home and recycle them myself for St. Jude.”

But these efforts did not stop after choreography, Jessica continued her efforts all year collecting water bottles at the gym and recycling them. At the end of the season, Jessica surprised her coach at the D2 Summit with a $150 check for St. Jude – just from collecting water bottles at the end of practice! Jessica proved that a little effort can go a long way for a great cause. She is continuing to collect water bottles after each practice today and hopes that someone else will take over her responsibilities when she goes off to college this year.

Way to go Jessica and SoCal Select Allstars!