Allie Harrison Rewrites the Trojan Experience
Oct. 1, 2013
When Allie Harrison stepped onto campus to begin her freshman season at USC over three years ago, she expected a traditional Trojan athlete experience. After a successful high school career at Mission Viejo, Harrison anticipated four years of playing the sport she loved. Appearing in 12 games as a rookie, the future was bright until Harrison suffered a career-ending concussion only four matches into her sophomore campaign.
Lucky for the soccer team and the entire athletic department, Harrison was far from finished. During her time at USC she has fully invested in her studies as a Creative Writing major, in her team as an undergraduate assistant coach, and in her community as a member of Athletes in Action.
Early in her freshman year, Harrison became involved in Athletes in Action, an international Christian ministry focused on equipping student-athletes with the tools necessary to become strong community leaders. Fueled by her spiritual passion, Harrison became a weekly participant in a Skid Row after-school program through Central City Community Outreach. There, she combined her various talents and led children from homeless or low-income families in creative writing workshops, academic tutoring sessions and athletic events. That spring, she partnered with two other athletes to plan a barbeque karaoke event at Glady's Park downtown. Seventy-five volunteers from partnering nonprofits ran the event where more than 1,000 Skid Row community residents ate food, participated in games, sang along to karaoke, and browsed a free thrift store.
After her injury, Harrison began to expand on this community work. In June of 2012, Harrison interned with Urban Project Los Angeles where she united 50 student-athletes from across the country in a month-long sustainable service initiative.
This experience led Harrison to explore the wider community, and landed the former-player in the world's soccer hotbed: Brazil. Alongside Athletes in Action USC Campus Director Mike Sylvester and Brazil Athletes in Action staff member Rogerio Soares, Harrison traveled to Sao Paulo this August in preparation for the first Brazilian Urban Project, which will kick off in May of 2014.
With an energy that seems inexhaustible, Harrison also volunteered her time last spring as a creative writing teacher at a local elementary school where she developed lesson plans for third and fifth grade students. She took her service a step further by creating an anthology of student work that was published by Hermitage Press.
Along with the previously mentioned outreach efforts, Harrison has served as a USC liaison to both the Five Rights Football Club and the One Watts Collaboration Group. Most recently, Harrison has set up service opportunities for her teammates this semester through USC's SCORE Initiative and the Kicks for Kids campaign.
The Community Outreach Program proudly awards Harrison the title of inaugural Community Outreach Athlete of the Month this September, as she continues to be faithful in her commitment to academic and athletic responsibilities. After graduating this December, Harrison plans to continue her work in Brazil, pursue an MFA in Creative Writing, and possibly stay involved with the soccer program. Despite experiencing the great nightmare of any athlete, Harrison has maintained her commitment to USC Athletics, and has proven herself a perfect model of the ideal Trojan.