Team IMPACT is an organization that partners with collegiate athletic programs to provide support for children facing serious and chronic illnesses. Their work taps into the camaraderie and tight-knit communities fostered by athletic teams on college campuses to tackle the emotional and social isolation many of these children experience. Founded in 2011, Team IMPACT has matched over 2,000 children with college teams at over 700 institutions.
The partnership between the Merrimack College Athletic Department and Team IMPACT is centered around each organization’s shared core values: promoting empathy, resilience, camaraderie and excellence while providing well-rounded developmental programs.
Merrimack Athletics strives to instill core values and enrich the lives of student-athletes both on and off the field. Through community partnerships, student-athletes have the opportunity to engage with the broader community, build relationships and develop life skills. Merrimack has built a relationship with Team IMPACT since the organization’s inception in 2011 and is currently the longest-serving affiliated institution. Throughout this time, 30 children have been matched with 17 Warrior programs.
“Investing in long-term, sustainable community partnerships is vital to Merrimack’s mission to reach as many students as we can to enlighten minds, engage hearts and empower lives,” said Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D., president of Merrimack College. “The ongoing partnership between Merrimack Athletics and Team IMPACT will now reach more children facing health and social challenges while also enhancing the educational experience we are able to give our student-athletes throughout their time as Warriors.”
Due to the program’s success in its pilot stage, Team IMPACT will now position Merrimack College as a model for other athletic programs around the country and Merrimack Athletics will enter into a formal partnership with the organization. Under the new agreement, Merrimack will proudly identify as a partner and student-athletes at Merrimack will be able to identify as both Merrimack College and Team IMPACT athletes.
Team IMPACT will also actively support two student-athlete fellowship positions on campus and Merrimack will maintain or increase its current level of matches with children in need. As the program grows, Team IMPACT will provide exclusive access to student-athlete development opportunities through curriculum-based training on topics such as diversity, equity and inclusion, advocacy and professional development.
Additionally, Merrimack will establish a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for athletes who are currently matched or interested in matching with children in the Team IMPACT network. The newly formed Team IMPACT fellowship, internship and student-athlete development initiatives will increase opportunities for Merrimack student-athletes to get involved both at the College and in the broader community.