June 7, 2017

Batten's Godine to Teach Leadership Through Sports in Ghana This Summer

Service and sports spurred rising fourth-year Batten student Spencer Godine to commit to an overseas summer mission project for orphaned children. Three other UVa students — Haley Gardner, Kelly Norfleet, and Anna Cho — also will serve.

Godine, a volunteer student manager for the UVa football team, will work in Ghana for nearly three weeks with the national organization Managers on a Mission, MOAM. The organization supports student managers at athletic programs in colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Godine, Gardner and two other student managers from other universities will teach leadership skills as they guide about 100 orphaned children through sessions of basketball, volleyball and soccer. Balls and other equipment, which they will leave with the children, are being donated by several colleges and universities.

“I give a huge shoutout to Professor (Jeanine) Braithwaite, who teaches development policy, and Professor (Kirsten) Gelsdorf, who teaches a humanitarian aid class. They definitely sparked my interest and influenced me for this mission trip,” Godine said.

“I took both of their courses last year and they were phenomenal. I would go talk to them during office hours and get helpful insights. That’s what opened my brain up to the idea of humanitarian aid.”

Godine said the Batten emphasis on leading by example has been especially important, citing the well-known admonition by Mahatma Gandhi to be the change in the world that you want to see.

“Leadership is critical in the sports world, and not only critical, but essential to the success of any sports team,” said Godine, who played lacrosse at The Covenant School in Charlottesville and then at Christopher Newport University in Newport News before transferring to UVa. He plays on the non-varsity UVA Mens Club Lacrosse team.

Godine’s commitment to service includes his involvement with The One Love Foundation, in memory of former UVa student Yeardley Love, which supports furthering healthy relationships. He also is raising money for the UVa branch of the Camp Kesem organization that supports children who have a parent with cancer. He plans to be involved as a volunteer working with children at Camp Kesem. Godine’s mother, Caroline, is a cancer survivor.

MOAM selected Godine, Gardner, Norfleet and Cho for full scholarships from among many nationwide applicants. MOAM is funding 20 student mangers for slightly more than $4,000 each. Godine leaves for the project on June 17.

Godine and Gardner will serve at an orphanage known as Rafiki Village about 30 minutes outside of Ghana’s capital, Accra. The Rafiki Foundation of Florida partners with MOAM to serve orphanages in 10 countries in Africa.

Gardner (CAS, ‘18) is majoring in Women, Gender & Sexuality. She is a volunteer student manager for the UVa women’s basketball team and plans to complete a master’s degree in sports management. Norfleet (SEAS, ‘19) is one of four head managers of the women’s basketball team. She is majoring in Systems Engineering. She will work at an orphanage in Malawi.

Cho (CAS, ‘17) earned her bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs and Media Studies. She will start a master’s degree program this fall in Educational Psychology-Social Foundations through the Curry School of Education. She has been a graduate assistant and head manager for the women’s basketball team, and she will return as a graduate assistant this fall. She served at an orphanage in Liberia last summer and will lead the group of student managers on her return trip to Liberia this summer.

Godine’s ties to UVA run deep. His grandfather Richard, and father Richard Jr., are UVa graduates and former varsity lacrosse players. His grandfather, known as Dick, graduated in 1952. His father, known as Chip, graduated in 1977. An older brother, Kohls, graduated from UVA in 2014, and an older sister, Lina, graduated in 2015. Spencer’s younger brother, Taylor, is a rising third-year at UVa.

(Updates about the work of the four UVa students will be posted regularly on the social media channels of Mangers on a Mission: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.)

In This Article

Professor of Public Policy
Phone Number
Office Location/Room Number
Garrett L046
Senior Lecturer and Director of Global Humanitarian Policy
Email Address
Office Location/Room Number
Garrett L028