It’s never easy finding enough hours in the day, but Lambert soccer alumna and current member of Auburn University’s women’s soccer team M.E. Craven still finds a way.
Craven, who was named last week to the Southeastern Conference Community Service team, volunteers her time with two separate organizations alongside earning her degree and playing Division I soccer.
“I think it is important to volunteer my time, because even making a small impact on one individual goes a long way,” Craven said. “Specifically, as athletes, our community supports and cheers for us, so we should do the same for them. It allows you to grow as a person and learn about other experiences outside of your own.”
Craven volunteers at the Creative Discovery Child Development Center and the Exceptional Foundation of East Alabama, both based in Auburn.
The Creative Discovery Child Development Center allows children to experiment with their surroundings and interests in order to grow and learn. Craven said most of her time was spent outdoors helping children build social confidence and joy through various activities.
The Exceptional Foundation of East Alabama focuses on providing people with disabilities the opportunity to connect and enjoy social functions.
“Time management is a skill that I have developed over my years as an athlete,” Craven said. “I have found that I actually work better when my schedule is packed with activities. I also like to plan my week out ahead of time so I can follow a tight schedule and be more efficient with my activities.”
Throughout high school, Craven volunteered her time and said it felt natural to find more volunteer roles once she got to Auburn. Growing up playing soccer taught Craven to be persistent and to persevere in everything she does on and off the field.
The honor was a surprise to Craven, but said she hopes the nomination inspires others to be more involved in their community. She added that Auburn is such a tight-knit community that it makes it easy to sacrifice time away from her dog or painting to give back.
“It is very exciting and rewarding to be able to play at this level and to be given a high platform within athletics,” Craven said. “I love nothing more than when my family and friends are able to watch a game and reconnect afterward. I just hope that college athletes like myself are motivating and inspiring to the younger generation of athletes.”
Craven, a junior defender for the Tigers, helped Auburn to a 10-5-3 record and eight shutouts during the 2020-21 season.
Craven won Auburn’s captain award following the season and continues to act as a leader on and off the field.
“I think that being a leader comes with having confidence and mutual respect from your peers,” Craven said. “As a leader you must be able to give and take constructive criticism; it is a two-way street.”