ASU softball player helms effort to help foster children

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by Tyler Baldwin

azfamily.com

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 1 at 10:30 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Nikole Afusia is a difference-maker on the Arizona State University softball team.

She also is making a difference as a volunteer and intern at Helen's Hope Chest.

Helen's Hope Chest provides foster children with everyday necessities.

"Some kids, don’t have anything,” Afusia said. “We give them free clothing, free school supplies, free school uniforms, books, even hygiene products."

Foster parents only receive about $12 a month for clothing. That’s why Afusia has helped organize donation campaigns like the one going on right now at ASU.

"Being here at Helen's has really opened my eyes to what these kids go through and it’s really life-changing," she said.

You can drop off donations at the Carson Student-Athlete Center or this weekend at the ballpark when the Sun Devils take on Utah in the season home finale.

Emily Strunk, the site manager, said Afusia really helps the families feel at home as they pick up clothes or toys.

"It’s been awesome having her as an intern," she said of Afusia. "She makes everyone feel special.”

Afusia said the experience at Helen’s Hope Chest has changed her life.

"You come here and you see these kids and they are smiling and their parents come in and say, 'This kid hasn't smiled in weeks and you guys have just made him smile,'" Afusia said.

Sun Devils Serve and the ASU softball team will help collect donations for the organization starting April 30 inside the Carson Student-Athlete Center.

The weekend of May 4-6, the softball team will have a table set up at Farrington Stadium to accept donations throughout the weekend as the Sun Devils take on Utah in the season home finale.

Items that Helen's Hope Chest will be accepting:

Shampoo/conditioner

Baby body wash

Hair brushes/vombs

Boys' pants size 8-14

Girls' pants size 6-8

Laundry detergent

Boys' and girls' underwear (must be brand new)

Backpacks

Shoes

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