MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Mariucci Family Beacon House has once again started a new season of Wildcat Wednesday, a program that brings Northern Michigan University student-athletes together with guests at the Beacon House. Wildcat Wednesday started as a way for students to give back to their community. Every Wednesday during the school year, a different NMU team comes to share a meal with the guests, however the real act of service is the fellowship between the students and guests.

“Tonight the NMU Swim and Dive Team is coming by and there is about 15 athletes that are going to come with their coach,” said Mary Tavernini Dowling, CEO, Mariucci Family Beacon House. “They’re going to get a quick tour of Beacon House, they’re going to go into the kitchen, have a wonderful meal, visit with whatever guests are there having dinner and just be part of the Beacon House community.”

From E-Sports to football, everyone who competes as a Wildcat is involved in this program. Senior, Olivia Haerr says the connection she makes with the guests is something she really looks forward to.

“I just like talking to people and it’s fun being able to take that time out of somebody’s stressful day, because you never know what’s going on in somebody’s life,” said Haerr. “Being able to just have that moment and be in the moment, and that’s what I’ve always been taught even through sports is being in the moment and so kind of taking that and expressing that through food which is my favorite thing and expressing that is always nice.”

Newly appointed Wildcat Wednesday Program Director, former volunteer and current NMU student, Reid Kenyon tries to put into words the feeling of helping others in some very tough times.

“It overwhelms me,” said Kenyon. “I love this. I look forward to coming to work every day. How many people can say that about their job? It’s truly beautiful and I come here every day with just a full heart and excited to come to work knowing what I can do for others and what they do for me is beautiful.”

For more information on the Mariucci Family Beacon House, click here.