Senior Blake McHugh Wins Kabiller Award, Takes Lacrosse to Kids in Jamaica

Senior Blake McHugh Wins Kabiller Award, Takes Lacrosse to Kids in Jamaica

Blake McHugh award

After receiving the Kabiller Award through the Northwestern athletic department, SESP senior Blake McHugh traveled to Jamaica over the summer with the goal of impacting children’s lives. Her vehicle was the sport of lacrosse.

Last year McHugh (second from left in photo) was one of five winners of the inaugural Irving Kabiller Award for Excellence in Character, Commitment and Community. This award is given through the Northwestern University Athletic Department and NU for Life, an organization that helps student athletes transition from college to the professional world.

With the help of the Kabiller Award, McHugh was able to travel to Jamaica with the nonprofit organization Fields of Growth. The mission of Fields of Growth is to spread the sport of lacrosse to the children of Jamaica and Uganda.

Blake McHugh lacrosse

“I had a huge desire to travel to Jamaica because I have been so fortunate in my life, especially because of the opportunities that lacrosse has brought me, so I wanted to use lacrosse as the vehicle to bring hope and opportunities to them. My coach, Kelly Amonte Hiller, is my main mentor and inspiration; I aspired to be just that for them,” says McHugh.

“I made meaningful relationships with the children that hopefully impacted how they perceive their future. I taught them a new sport that they had never heard of or seen before. Learning a new sport seemed like winning the lottery to the children. They were so grateful for just our presence. I was happy to add another smile to their day, and they left an enduring smile on my heart.”

A human development and psychological services major, McHugh worked with children at Lurie Children’s Hospital for her practicum during sophomore year. She applied for the Kabiller Award because of her desire to continue making an impact of young people’s lives.

Coaches may nominate third-year students to apply for the Kabiller Award. Nominees submit a proposal for the chance to have their “ultimate professional development experience.” Winners receive $5,000 to fulfill their dream and are also paired with a mentor.

Nominees are selected on the basis of criteria including citizenship in the Northwestern athletics community, excellence in all areas, an altruistic attitude and personal qualities of integrity and morality. Student nominees must also be active in the University’s athletic philanthropies NU for Life and Cats Give Back.

The Kabiller Award is presented each year at the Wildcat Professional Excellence Program in October. Irving Kabiller is the father of NU for Life benefactor and former Northwestern student-athlete David Kabiller. 

Photos: Blake McHugh, shown second from left in the top photo taken at the Kabiller Award ceremony, worked with Fields of Dreams to take lacrosse to children in Jamaica.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 11/13/14