July 31, 2003
Indianapolis, Ind. -- Student-athletes of today might have locked horns against some of tomorrow's brightest Tuesday afternoon when the Horizon League's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) volunteered at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center's Summer Day Camp. The volunteer project was part of the SAAC summer meeting, held annually in Indianapolis.
"Giving back is the least we can do as student-athletes," said Stephanie Hansen, of UW-Green Bay. "We've been fortunate to get opportunities to attend college and compete in a sport. Today was just a rewarding experience."
Kaleidoscope Church and Community Partnership Youth Center is a community-based organization that has delivered services to more than 1,500 youth, ages 7-16, who are affected by poverty, lack of supervision, limited parental involvement and violence.
The camp consists of 80 participants, with 45-50 attending on a daily basis. Student-athletes worked with participants from three different age groups in various outdoor sports activities and indoor reading activities.
"These student-athletes were once in this same situation, looking up to older role models," said Stephanie Jarvis, Horizon League assistant commissioner for compliance and legal affairs, who organized much of the volunteer project. "Today's outreach by SAAC representatives is another example of the Horizon League's dedication to the communities they are located in. Today is what intercollegiate athletics should be about."
In fact, the inspiration to partner with Kaleidoscope came from one of the representatives. Butler junior Elizabeth Moreau has volunteered with the center for nearly five years. The past two years, she's gotten her volleyball team into the act.
"There's just something about the Kaleidoscope Center that makes you want to keep coming back," said Moreau, one of two Butler SAAC representatives. "Everyone is just so nice there and truly cares about these kids."
Brenda Walls, Kaleidoscope's program director, knows how much the program participants look up to older athletes.
"When these youngsters think about student-athletes, most just think about basketball," said Walls, herself a Butler graduate. "Hopefully having these student-athletes here today allows them to see the new possibilities out there, other ways to excel.
"We've never had a volunteer outreach like this before. We've had Butler athletes come and interact before, but (Moreau) has been one of our biggest supporters. She keeps on bringing back new volunteers, providing new opportunities for both camp participants and the volunteers themselves."
The Horizon League SAAC is comprised of two student-athletes from each of the League's nine member institutions. SAAC provides an opportunity for student-athletes to be more involved in League issues and to enhance communication and a sense of community among the League's student-athletes. The group is charged with enhancing the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare and fostering a positive student-athlete image.
The 2003-04 SAAC members are Elizabeth Moreau (volleyball) and Scott Luc (men's golf) of Butler; Jamie Bouyer (volleyball) and Marco Markgraaff (men's swimming) of Cleveland State; Caitie Goddard (women's basketball) and Chad Aboud (men's soccer) of Detroit; Corey Steven (women's tennis) and Jennifer Goebel (women's cross country) of UIC; Rachel Johnson (women's track and field/cross country) and Jason Telford (men's basketball) of Loyola; Stephanie Hansen (softball) and Zach Hansen (men's swimming) of UW-Green Bay; Kalombo Kadima (men's basketball) and Zak Rivera (baseball) of UW-Milwaukee; Iesha Gray (women's basketball) and Jackie Dexter (women's swimming) of Wright State; and Kiisha Warfield (softball) and Tony Orcena (men's track and field/cross country) of Youngstown State.
Jarvis serves as the League liaison to the group. Denny Wills, UIC's associate athletics directors, and Dr. Rita Cheng, UW-Milwaukee's faculty athletics representative, serve as advisors to the committee.