Making an IMPACT: Volleyball’s Bridget Fatse ’22 helps teams bring joy to seriously and chronically ill children
Bridget Fatse ’22, an outside hitter on Connecticut College’s women’s volleyball team, has been named the first-ever Connecticut College Team IMPACT Fellow. In her new role, she seeks to spread awareness of Team IMPACT’s mission to “tackle the emotional trauma and social isolation experienced by children facing serious and chronic illnesses by matching them with a college athletic team.”
During Fatse’s rookie season, the volleyball team was matched with a young girl named Katalina who has a rare, incurable primary immune deficiency.
“We immediately connected and created an amazing bond,” Fatse said of Katalina, who turns 9 this month. “I have worked with my teammates to provide Katalina with the support, friendship and love she deserves.
The experience inspired Fatse to explore Team IMPACT’s Fellowship program, which selects one or two students from colleges and universities across the country through an in-depth application and interview process. In April of 2020, Fatse was contacted by Team IMPACT and was named Connecticut College’s Team IMPACT Fellow.
Throughout the summer of 2020, Fatse attended virtual specialized training sessions in order to prepare to become the face and voice of Team IMPACT at Conn.
“The fellowship program gives me the proper information, skills and ability to provide all [of the children matched with] Connecticut College with the support and friendship of our varsity teams while also providing our student-athletes with a life-changing experience, and developing their abilities to enact change and make an impact in the world,” Fatse said.
As a fellow, Fatse collaborates with the athletic department and the greater campus community to raise awareness and increase program participation. This fall, Fatse put her training into practice, despite the global pandemic. She has been promoting Katalina’s Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Toy Drive, which last year collected more than 2,000 toys, and has prepared a NESCAC Team IMPACT Virtual Lip Sync Competition that will take place in the spring.
“It really just requires creativity,” she said.
Connecticut College head volleyball coach Josh Edmed spoke highly of Fatse and her involvement with Team IMPACT.
“Bridget’s growth and involvement with Team IMPACT over the years has been tremendous,” Edmed said. “From supporting our team initiatives her first year, taking on a leadership role for our program in her sophomore year, and to now being the Team IMPACT Fellow for Connecticut College, I have been impressed with Bridget's dedication and commitment throughout each step.
On the court, Fatse, who hails from Trumbull, Connecticut, is a key member of the team. She has totaled 112 kills, 159 digs, and 28 aces in 38 matches through two seasons.
Off the court, Fatse is a government major and classics minor, a team representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and a member of the sports information team.
“Bridget exudes passion and empathy in all that she does, and these qualities provide a great foundation for her work with Team IMPACT,” Edmed said. “She has provided an amazing experience for Katalina with our volleyball program, and I am excited to see her share her passion and empathy in her expanded role moving forward.”
You can donate to Katalina’s toy drive by purchasing an item off of her Amazon wish list or by mailing a toy directly to Team Katalina, P.O Box 775, Moosup, CT 06354.