ABOVE: Josh Forbes is pictured during a boys volleyball practice last week. He encouraged his team to volunteer to help the community, and the... Thomas Dale boys volleyball team shares the volunteer spirit

ABOVE: Josh Forbes is pictured during a boys volleyball practice last week. He encouraged his team to volunteer to help the community, and the idea has spread to other teams at Thomas Dale High School. Forbes is in his sixth year of coaching at the school.

Every generation has some people whose favorite pastime is speaking about younger generations with sarcastic disdain. We’ve all heard them bemoaning the young for not appreciating how easy they have it. They punctuate that fact by regaling themselves with stories of hardship about walking to school, uphill both ways, in five feet of snow. The truth is that every generation has a multitude of young people who are shining lights as they walk through life.

Team bonding is a way of life in sports. Coach Josh Forbes and his boys’ volleyball team at Thomas Dale High School were considering team-building events when junior Josh Deckert proposed community service. The entire team was immediately all in.

The first idea was to build cabinets for a homeless shelter in Richmond. That was sidelined when the lumber for the cabinets was needed for hurricane relief. Forbes and the young men then turned their community service to volunteering time at the Chester Food Bank.

“The guys, as they were talking about it … wanted to make a challenge out of it to hopefully bring light to all the good things the area is already doing,” Forbes said.
With the success of other such challenges, like the Ice Bucket Challenge, Forbes and the team decided the challenge was one way to have a bigger impact on the area. For them, it was the perfect action to take in continuing the sports tradition of helping the community.

“We’ve created an environment in athletics that promotes people … using their platform in order to make a difference,” Forbes said.

The TDHS cross country and the girls volleyball teams followed suit and have taken the challenge. On a weekly basis, the teams involved share videos of their volunteer work at the charities of their choosing.

Forbes and the sports teams at Thomas Dale are intent on having the volunteer challenge spread to Richmond schools as well. They also help spread the word about the breast cancer awareness campaign at the Little Pink House of Hope in Colonial Heights.