BABSON PARK, Mass.—The Babson College women's volleyball team officially welcomed the newest member of its program as 7-year-old Katie Jarvi joined the Beavers through a partnership with Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, Play Against Challenges Together) on Sunday afternoon.
Team IMPACT matches children ages 5-15 who are diagnosed with a life-threatening or chronic illness that has resulted in treatment and/or extended hospital stays within the past three years with teams at colleges and universities across the country. Team IMPACT children gain great strength, camaraderie and support, and the student-athletes are taught lessons about courage, resiliency and life perspective that they can't learn in a classroom. The organization has paired more than 1,200 children with over 450 colleges and universities, which now includes 17 at Babson.
"It's been fun meeting Katie and her parents, I can tell she'll be a great fit with our team," commented eighth-year head coach Eric Neely. "The players had a great time hanging out with her and teaching her a few volleyball skills. I know they're looking forward to spending more time with Katie. She definitely has the championship mindset we look for in our recruits."
Katie, who had a heart transplant as an infant and lives in nearby Framingham, officially signed a letter of intent with the Green and White during her official Draft Day on Sunday's campus visit. Following the ceremony, which included comments from coach Neely, Katie played games, posed for pictures, and enjoyed pizza with her new teammates.
"Katie officially joining our team has filled a void we did not realize we had," stated sophomore Gaby Miller. "Her positive and bubbly attitude instantly lights up the room, and we are lucky to have such an incredible girl join our team. We are excited to see not only how we can be positive role models for her, but also how she will constantly remind us the privilege we have to be student-athletes at Babson. We are all so excited to learn and grow together!"
The Beavers are coming off a 26-9 campaign that included winning a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championship on the way to advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in program history.