Hear It From a Student - Going Above and Beyond

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An average day of a Notre Dame student-athlete begins with an early morning workout and team meetings, followed by several more hours of class, practice, more team meetings and a team meal.

Balancing the demands of a rigorous academic and storied athletic tradition of an establishment like Notre Dame is an incredible feat, yet these young men and women do it every day. To put forth the effort to go above and beyond these expectations is nearly impossible; and Dayne Crist does it with ease.

Crist is one of 22 student-athletes named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. A record 132 student-athletes were nominated for the award over the summer. Two 11-member teams comprise the Good Works Team: one recognizing the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, the other representing the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. This marks the award's 20th year of recognizing community service efforts made off the field by Division I, II, and III college football players.

The nomination is an incredible honor for Crist, who is only the sixth Notre Dame football player selected to the Good Works Team since 1999.

Yet, in an unassuming demeanor, Crist highlights what is at the heart of the award, which is simply community service. "It's an incredible honor to be nominated for an award like this," says Crist. "I'm proud to see the other student-athletes named to the list as well for their contributions to their communities."

A senior from Canoga Park, California, Crist began his quest to make a difference the minute he set foot on campus. He mentions the impact his parents have on his choices as a student-athlete, saying, "It's always been something my family has stressed, helping those in need. No matter how much or little we have to give, it's our obligation to give whatever we have."

For the last three years, Crist helped organize the Bald and Beautiful fundraiser to benefit St. Baldrick's Foundation, a charity that raises money for childhood cancer research. Other accomplishments include reading to grade school children at St. Joseph's grade school and visiting patients at St. Joseph's Medical Center. This past summer, Crist volunteered at the Logan Center, befriending children and young adults with a wide range of disabilities; three months later, the busy student-athlete still makes time to maintain those relationships.

"I feel it's important to recognize how fortunate we are to be given the opportunities we have been given and to assist those who may be less fortunate," he notes. "As student-athletes, it's important for us to use the power that we have to make an impact in our communities and the lives of people we come in contact with each and every day."

And Crist has done just that.

Notre Dame students, alumni and fans are invited to honor and select Crist as the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain by visiting the official voting site of the service award.

- Hilary Ferguson (Saint Mary's '12)

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