Softball’s Perrone, Wilson attended recent Team IMPACT Fellowship Summit
Valentina Perrone found inspiration at every turn at last month’s Team IMPACT Fellowship Summit.
The GW softball rising senior catcher and her teammate Daniella Wilson were among more than 70 student-athletes from across the country who attended the organization’s conference at Boston University.
Over three days, the group shared the work being done on their campuses to connect children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams and developed strategies for expanding the partnership’s reach.
Together, Perrone and Wilson took part in networking activities, learned from guest speakers and Team IMPACT administrators and met families who have benefitted from the relationships made possible through the national non-profit.
“We’re a part of one of the fastest-growing regions for Team IMPACT, and to see that growth first-hand was so awesome,” Perrone said. “To be able to represent GW and GW softball was powerful, but what I learned and can bring back to our athletic department can be monumental.”
The summit connected student-athletes with families who have been supported through Team IMPACT.
Over the past three years, three Buff and Blue squads – men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball – have officially signed on local youngsters battling health issues through the Team IMPACT program.
Perrone got involved two years ago after attending an event in which the volleyball program welcomed then-8-year-old Gianna into their family.
Back in December, she encouraged Wilson to join her when men’s basketball held a signing ceremony to make official its bond with 16-year-old Elijah.
“It was a life-changing day for me,” Wilson remembered. “Seeing Elijah’s face light up after he received all of his GW basketball gear and got to dance with his new ‘brothers’ warmed my heart.”
The summit featured student-athletes from across the country.
This spring, Perrone and Wilson drove softball’s efforts to get involved, and the program is planning to hold a signing ceremony this fall to celebrate its newest teammate, a young girl named Addyson.
They are eager to help more Buff and Blue programs join in supporting Team IMPACT, as well.
Through the fellowship program, they’ve learned that it doesn’t take much effort to show care and make a difference for these families, and they’ve seen how quickly these relationships prove meaningful for everyone involved.
“Things that may seem so small to us, even just sending a check-up text, can have such an impression on these kids’ lives,” Perrone said. “We have more influence than we may think and have the chance to use our platforms to represent something bigger than us.”
The programming highlights included a talk on leadership from Dr. Kevin Elko.
Both Wilson and Perrone jumped at the opportunity to carve out time around summer internships to make the trip to Boston for the summit. It was the first in-person conference for the organization since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wilson is working at a law firm in her native South Carolina with an eye on applying to law schools this fall, while Perrone is working at an investment law firm in her hometown of San Diego.
At the summit, they enjoyed connecting with student-athletes who share the same passion for the program and hearing from parents whose families have been lifted by the support during a difficult time.
The pair also pointed to a talk on leadership from Dr. Kevin Elko as a highlight of the conference. He encouraged the attendees to seek out ways to make a difference in their campus community.
“I was honored to be there representing GW and the softball program because it’s important for me to show that we are more than just student-athletes,” Wilson said. “We are role models, and it is our duty as leaders to learn from these brave children and carry their resiliency forward.”