RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. - Arkansas Tech student-athletes have been honored with the NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition Award for their community outreach efforts this fall, the NCAA office announced Wednesday.

Tech had 100 percent participation from its student-athletes, who completed 3,535 hours of community work. The athletes donated time to 23 local nonprofit organizations, including River Valley Food 4 Kids and The First Tee. They also spent over 800 hours volunteering at local elementary schools, mentoring and reading to the students and creating food backpacks.

“The work of the Arkansas Tech student-athletes and coaches is to be commended,” said Dr. Robin E. Bowen, Arkansas Tech President. “In addition to their studies and their athletic pursuits, these students give numerous hours of service to the local community. I am genuinely appreciative of their efforts to make our community and region a better place.”

NCAA Team Works, which coordinates community service efforts at NCAA championships, and Helper Helper, a volunteer management and tracking platform, launched the community service competition to recognize student-athletes who give back to their communities. The competition, which ran from September through November, is based on the number of service hours completed and the number of participating student-athletes. Helper Helper tallies the school participation throughout the competition.

Towson (Division I) and Alma (Division III) were chosen as the winners for their respective NCAA divisions.

The NCAA will honor the student-athletes at Towson, Arkansas Tech and Alma this spring on their respective campuses. This is the fifth NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition. In all, student-athletes combined this year to do more than 173,820 hours of community service in a total of 4,432 opportunities with local organizations. The tally represents a 34 percent increase from last year’s challenge.