The spirit of giving: MUN student-athlete impresses on and off the soccer pitch
As one of the top strikers in Atlantic University Sport soccer, Jessie Noseworthy is used to getting her share of goals.
The third-year Sea-Hawk led Memorial University with nine goals in 13 games this year, helping the team to a 9-3-1 record and the semifinals of league play.
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But it was probably off the field where Noseworthy did her best work this year.
A native of St. John's, Noseworthy spends a lot of her time volunteering. Juggling a university academic schedule, varsity soccer and volunteer activities doesn't leave her with a lot of down time, but it's a path she aggressively pursues.
Her combination of athleticism and community spirit is what earned her two major prizes this past season.
Sometimes I guess we take it for granted being able to play soccer and any sport at a high level.- Jessie Noseworthy
Noseworthy was the winner of both the Atlantic and Canadian Inter-university Sport student-athlete community service award. She received her national award during the Canadian women's soccer championship in Vancouver last month, beating out two other top athletes.
"I was really surprised at first," she said last week.
"I didn't think I'd get it. It's a really big honour. I was really proud that I was able to win it not only for Memorial, but for the Atlantic University Sport league, too."
'A tremendous leader'
"We are very proud of Jessie and all that she accomplishes," said MUN head coach Mike Power.
"She is a tremendous leader in our community and on our team. Jessie's output as a student-athlete is extremely impressive and we are thrilled she has been honoured with this award."
Why did she win? Take a look at this partial resume, and see if you can find the answers.
She's a third-year nursing student and has been volunteering for three years with Easter Seals, where she teaches weekly swim lessons to children with physical and mental disabilities.
Noseworthy also volunteers with the Ronald McDonald House Home for Dinner Program and is starting to volunteer with Eastern Health in the palliative care unit.
She's involved with a Street Reach Christmas Stocking drive, in which MUN varsity athletes collect personal care items — like combs, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap — and put them into stockings. Those stockings are then given to homeless and less-fortunate people during the Christmas season.
Last year the group collected enough for 150 stockings. Noseworthy is hoping to better that this holiday season.
And this past summer, she spent four weeks in India teaching English at monasteries and also volunteered with a local Indian doctor to treat patients and prescribe medicine that had been donated.
'We take it for granted'
Every aspect of her volunteer hours provides the daughter of Phil Oliver and Kathy Noseworthy with satisfaction, but it also grounds her. She says the Easter Seals kids swim time is something she cherishes.
"Sometimes I guess we take it for granted being able to play soccer and any sport at a high level," she said quietly, uncomfortable with the attention focused on her and not her sport.
"Going to swimming and seeing these kids who are going to be in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives — but are the happiest kids you'll ever meet — is really cool to see and makes you appreciate being able to play your sport."
Noseworthy's time in India, which included time in New Delhi as well as weeks in Tibetan villages teaching English as well as helping local doctors treat patients, was a dream of hers.
While friends and family were nervous as she travelled halfway around the world by herself, she was comfortable reaching another one of her goals.
"I really just wanted to get out of my comfort zone and not to just travel the world, but to travel the world with a purpose and be able to give back to other people that are in need," she said.
It was a really cool experience, being able to see their perspective on health care was eye opening."
A name to watch
Noseworthy's giving back will continue into 2016 and beyond. She is already in an orientation session at Eastern Health that will allow her to volunteer in the hospital's Palliative Care Unit.
And once she finishes her nursing degree in 2017, her plan is to apply to medical school, and eventually volunteer with Doctors Without Borders.
"If I don't get into med school right away, I was thinking about volunteering. You can do Nurses Without Borders, too, so I was thinking that could be something I'd be interested in doing," she said.
"Or once I'm done medical school, doing that for a bit. It's something I've looked into that, yes."
Whether it's on a soccer pitch, in a hospital, or in some far off country helping less fortunate, one thing is certain: Jessie Noseworthy is a name we will hear for years to come.
Follow Don on Twitter @PowerPlay27