Nov. 8, 2001
The Stanford University Athletic Department is re-launching a community outreach program called Stanford Athletes and Kids United (SAKU) which will combine tutoring, mentoring and athletic skills training. SAKU translates in Japanese to mean 'to blossom or bloom.' Student-athletes will manage SAKU, which is a grassroots program to develop friendship, empower and improve the self-esteem of at-risk youths.
"The Stanford University Athletic department is excited to support this community outreach effort," Athletic Director Ted Leland said. "Student-athletes seek to excel in both academic and athletics. The idea that student-athletes will share their experiences and help youths through the SAKU program is a winning concept that the Athletic Department is happy to support."
In 1969, the Stanford University athletic department organized and sponsored a successful community outreach program where sixty Stanford student-athletes volunteered to be mentors to local school-aged youths in the Bay Area. Through the next several years, this Stanford youth program dramatically improved the self-esteem of many of the participating youths. Equally as important, this youth program also helped to broaden and enrich the lives of many of the Stanford student-athletes. By 1977, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) agreed to sponsor a nationwide program named Volunteers for Youth. Unfortunately, with the national staff and focus, the student-based program at Stanford dwindled and eventually ended. SAKU hopes to re-ignite this Stanford tradition.
A group of student-athletes are inviting all student-athletes to an informational meeting on Sunday, November 11, 2001 at Kissick Auditorium in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center from 6:30-7:30pm.
For further information, please contact Debi Gore-Mann at (650) 723-4103.