College sports teams across the country are involved with Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit organization that allows children who are living with serious illnesses to become part of a team, specifically at the college level.

One of the student-athletes acting as a liaison for Trinity’s teams and the Team IMPACT organization is Ali Odermann ’21, a member of the volleyball team who helps to match up Bantam athletic teams with Team IMPACT children.

“It started out of Boston. The main idea was to match kids with physical disabilities or illnesses with a college team local to them,” Odermann said about the organization’s background. “The founders of Team IMPACT played at a collegiate level and recognized the importance of community and wanted to give kids that normally cannot play sports an opportunity to have that sense of belonging.”

Being on a sports team and sharing the feeling of belonging to a family is something to which Odermann, and hundreds of other athletes, can relate. “The volleyball team is my family on this campus. We play together, we eat together, and most of us even live together,” she said. The volleyball team also had the privilege of having its own Team IMPACT player, Izzy. “Last year she came to almost all of the home games,” said Odermann. “We had a scavenger hunt with her, we would text her during the season and off-season, so she really is a member of our volleyball family and we are so grateful for her.”

Odermann further explained her experience with Team IMPACT and what it means to be able to represent Trinity as a liaison for the program. “I have loved working with Team IMPACT. The entire organization is run by people with one goal: to help disabled kids feel good about themselves. Team IMPACT has been able to positively affect not only the kids, but their entire families, the teams the kids have joined, the college athletic departments, and in many cases, the campus as a whole. I love being a part of something that meaningful and all-encompassing.”

Odermann hails from Kansas City, Kansas, which means she is not exactly close to home in Hartford, but she is okay with that. “I wanted to go far away [for college] but I still wanted to have a small community type of feeling,” she said. “I wanted a place where I was surrounded by people that were passionate. A lot of the reason I came to Trinity was also the reason I wanted to become an IMPACT Fellow. I loved the idea of a small community trying to make a big impact on a kid’s life.”

Not only does Odermann work hard for Team IMPACT, but she works hard for her own team as well. Head volleyball coach Jen Bowman said, “Ali is a great person. She is socially aware and thoughtfully stands up for what she believes in. She impacts our team by being a competitive player who hustles and has an awesome work ethic, and overall, she has raised the level of her play and by doing so, helps our team. She is a great choice for the Team IMPACT fellowship primarily because of her passion for the program. She cares about people and has made a positive impact on the world.”

Written by Taylor Foy ’20