Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) Camp Montvale has a brand new basketball court. Harmony Family Center dedicated Volunteer Court to University of Tennessee Lady Vol Head Coach Holly Warlick on Thursday afternoon at the peaceful, rural retreat in Blount County.
With her 2014-15 UT squad flanking her left and right side, Warlick used an oversized pair of scissors to snip a big orange ribbon and officially signal the opening of the court. When the ribbon fell, it uncovered a handmade wooden sign that reads, "Volunteer Court - Dedicated to Holly Warlick for her outstanding leadership and commitment to excellence."
"Holly has been an amazing supporter of Harmony Family Center, and we felt that this was the best way to thank her," said Pam Wolf, CEO and Founder of Harmony Family Center. "She's previously brought her team to the Montvale property for retreats and they are very familiar with us. The girls exhibit such grace and maturity and have been great to work with our kids."
Children from the foster care program, the Lady Vols and Harmony Family Center staff, board members and supporters cheered as the ribbon fell, and once Warlick issued some remarks about the new court the youngsters and UT players happily hit the court for some pick-up games, followed an autograph session and refreshments.
"When little kids smile, and you are able to put that smile on kids' faces, it's huge," senior UT player Cierra Burdick said. "It just makes it worthwhile.
"We've all been blessed with a platform. To wear Lady Vol across our chests, it represents something more than our selves. We have a responsibility to give back to the community, and this is a great testament of what we're capable of doing."
"The Harmony Family Center gives these young kids an opportunity to come out, play and have fun," Warlick said. "Some kids are trying to find families. They help educate foster families here. It's a great family atmosphere.
"At Tennessee, we talk about that family atmosphere. When you come to UT, it's once a Lady Vol, always a Lady Vol. This exemplifies what we talk about. These kids have a family here and a place to have fun, learn and enjoy themselves."
Harmony Family Center's mission is to serve children, families and communities through counseling, education, and adoption. Since its founding in 1996, Harmony's focus has been finding forever families for children, domestically, internationally and through the foster care system. Its work with families often begins at placement and continues throughout the adoption journey.
Harmony Family Center is in the process of adapting the former YMCA Camp Montvale for use as the Harmony Family Center at Montvale. Located eight miles from Maryville, Montvale is nestled at the foot of Chilhowee Mountain adjoining Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Montvale's 364 acres lend themselves to a broad range of use. Therapeutic programs began with the Barn - Harmony's program of equine-assisted psychotherapy. This summer, Harmony held the first family camps for families of children adopted from foster care.