STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford Athletics continued its Cardinal for the Community program Saturday, hosting Buddy Day at Stanford Football. Sharing the excitement of Stanford football with local youth, athletes from women's basketball, men's water polo, men's swimming, men's volleyball, men's soccer and sailing spent time with the kids, many of whom were experiencing their first Stanford football game.
"Buddy Day was an extraordinary event," said Stanford GOALS After School Sports Coordinator Kelly Burke. "The kids from the Stanford GOALS Program had never been to a college football game, let alone spent time with a collegiate athlete. They had so much fun at the game and hopefully it will motivate them to work hard on the playing field. It is so important for kids to have positive role models in their lives and we are thankful Stanford Athletics strives to create such opportunities. The athletes were wonderful with the kids and I think the experience will help them see what opportunities are out there in sports and academics."
"Homeless families at Shelter Network cannot afford experiences that we often take for granted, like sports games and group field trips," said Lewis Eggleston, Children's Coordinator at the Shelter Network. "Buddy Day has provided our children with the opportunity to see their heroes in person - a moment they will undoubtedly never forget. We are extremely grateful for Stanford University's support of our mission to break the cycle of homelessness for these children."
An hour before kickoff, athletes were matched up with youth clad in Stanford Red Zone shirts. After spending time together in the Fan Fest area enjoying the attractions, the group entered Stanford Stadium to enjoy the football game. The chance to participate in the event was meaningful for the Cardinal athletes.
"It was exciting being a part of Buddy Day and a great opportunity for us to give back to the community," said volleyball player Eric Mochalski. "We had a great time out here with the kids and we got to go to the football game and play in the Bounce House at Fan Fest."
Haas Center for Public Service Program Director Kristen Azevedo was pleased with the event.
"It was great to see the kids and how much they enjoyed spending time with the athletes," she said. "The student-athletes really want to be involved in the community and they do a great job with community service. They were really happy to spend time with the kids."
At least one athlete could relate to the youngsters. "Today was a great opportunity for student-athletes to give back to the community and our supporters," said basketball player Amber Orrange. "People did the same thing for us when we were younger and it's our responsibility to do the same for the kids 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 www.gostanford.com/community/
Youth Impact Program: Stanford University and the San Francisco 49ers have partnered with the Youth Impact Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping educate urban-based middle school students. Founded by former 49ers linebacker Riki Ellison, the Youth Impact Program invests in at-risk boys between the ages of 9 and 12 through a program combining academics and athletics.
The program's inaugural camp was held on the Stanford campus this summer, and the participants returned to The Farm to attend today's game. In addition to being recognized by the public address announcer, the kids had the opportunity to meet some Cardinal players after the game.
"It's a remarkable honor to be able to bring Stanford and the 49ers and the 160 kids and families that were at the game together," said Ellision. "They got to see Stanford at its best and one of the greatest football programs in the nation. A lot of this is drawn back on inspiration from Bill Walsh when he was athletic director at Stanford. It was a great effort by the university and the players to make this happen."
About Youth Impact Program: For more information on the Youth Impact Program, visit www.youthimpactprogram.org