HARMONY, Pa. - Jake Stebbins is vital to Seneca Valley’s success on the football field. He’s so good, he earned a scholarship to play at Cornell University next fall.
However, the linebacker is just as gifted as a person.
The senior has spent the past two summers going on mission trips to Africa with his church to lend a helping hand.
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“We’ve built an orphanage,” Stebbins said. “And a school in one village, and the other village, we built a medical center.”
When he’s on these trips, he’s struck by what he finds.
“It’s really the kids,” Stebbins said. “I love working with kids here, but when you go over there, the pure joy that all those kids have... You look at the material things that they have, there’s not much, but inside of them there’s joy. It’s amazing to watch.”
Stebbins says he grew up with charity being a focus in his family and wants to continue these acts of service throughout his life, because it’s the right thing to do.
“For my senior project, I’m raising money for one of our trip leader’s dads,” he said. “His house is falling apart because it’s a mud-and-stick house, so I’m going to raise money to help build a brick house for him.”
Ron Butschle has known Stebbins since the senior was a ninth-grader. Butschle says he’s thankful to have Stebbins as a quality football player, but grateful to have him as a role model for the rest of the team.
“He’s the kind of kid you want your daughter to marry,” Butschle said. “He’s a hardworking, honest, humble kid that loves playing football and loves to do good things for other people.”
So what motivates a high school kid to be so kind-hearted?
“It’s been something that’s been ingrained in me since youth,” Stebbins said. “Just to give back and to help others. It’s just something that I have a passion for.”
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