Jan. 28, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - The Cardinal for the Community program kicked off 2012 with Buddy Day at Stanford women's basketball Saturday afternoon. Cardinal athletes from field hockey, synchronized swimming, women's volleyball and men's and women's soccer spent the afternoon mentoring youth representing the Opportunity Center, Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative, Stanford GOALS and East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring.
"Buddy Day is the best event we've been a part of," said Kelly Burke of Stanford GOALS. "It's rare for the kids to be able to attend a game and spend some time with Stanford athletes. They've been excited about the event for weeks and the inspiration they get from participating is incredible."
Stanford synchronized swimmer Anna Boyle was the sole representative of her sport.
"When my team captain told us about Buddy Day I signed up right away," said Boyle. "It's an easy way to give back to local kids and I enjoy spending time with them. I remember looking up to older athletes when I was younger and I'm glad I can be a part of this."
After meeting their buddies at Maples Pavilion before the game, the kids spent time making signs, having their faces painted, picking out their free t-shirt and shooting baskets on the mini-hoop. As they headed to their seats, an excited buzz emanated from the group.
"I've helped Erin with all the events since C4C started," said Stanford senior soccer player Clayton Holz. "These kids value what we're doing and it's fun for me too. When I was younger I met the University of Kentucky soccer team and I still remember it, it made a real impact on me."
Buddy Day marked the first time that Kesha Weekes of EPATT had been involved in the C4C program.
"Most of these kids have never been to a Stanford basketball game despite being so close," said Weekes. "It's very exciting for them. A few showed up more than an hour before they were supposed to and many of them are planning on keeping their ticket stubs to remember the day."
After an overtime victory over California, the remaining kids and their buddies filed out of Maples, smiles all around.
"Seeing the kids enjoy themselves reminds me when I was younger and I had a WNBA player sign a shirt for me," said Kelsey Harbin of Stanford's field hockey team. "It pushed me to get to where I am, and I hope we're able to do that for the kids that were here today."
About Cardinal for the Community: Cardinal for the Community connects Stanford student-athletes with community groups to build sustainable partnerships and support the surrounding community. C4C is supported by Stanford Athletics and the Haas Center for Public Service. For more information visit http://www.gostanford.com/community