May 16, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — University of North Carolina lacrosse player Zoe Skinner might not have her name leap off any stat sheet, but her impact on Chapel Hill stretches far beyond goals or assists.
"Zoe is an unsung hero on our team," said UNC women's lacrosse head coach Jenny Levy. "When you are building a program or a team, people like Zoe Skinner are important to the fabric of your program."
Skinner, a junior defender from Baltimore, Md., is involved in more community service than you can shake a lacrosse stick at - including mentoring kids at New Hope Elementary.
"Helping them become the leaders of tomorrow is very important to me," Skinner said.
Last summer, Skinner took her charity work outside the Triangle – 8,000 miles outside the triangle. As part of the ACC Coach for College Teacher Program, she paid her own way to southern Vietnam where she wouldn't let a little thing like a language barrier get in her way of teaching fifth and sixth graders.
"You can show a smile, you can pick someone up,” Skinner said. “Just because we have some cultural boundaries, there are some human qualities that we all share, even halfway across the world."
Skinner has made 16 appearances in a Tar Heels uniform in three seasons, eight of which have come this year. She will suit up for UNC as they take on Virginia Saturday in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.
Skinner is also active in the Carolina Leadership Academy as a member of the Rising Stars Program and is one of the leaders on the lacrosse team’s community service program.
“What makes her special is she doesn't look for recognition," said Levy.
Her efforts have not gone un-noticed, as Skinner was recently named one of five female finalists for the Yeardley Reynolds Love Unsung Hero award.
"You never think, ‘Oh, I'm doing this to get this award,’ or ‘I'm doing this to get this,’" Skinner said. "It's very much to give back to what I've been given. And if I don't give back it's almost a dishonor."
While a national honor would be nice, Skinner just hopes her story inspires others to follow her lead.
"You can change the world at some level," Skinner said. "Everyone can."