FAU Athletics' Ramps Up Community Service Efforts in July
Summer is in full swing, and the Florida Atlantic University student-athletes are beginning to gear up for their 2017-18 seasons. While attending classes, going to practice and finding time to squeeze in that beach day here and there, community service remains a significant priority for FAU student-athletes.
On Friday, July 7, more than 20 Owls from the football and men's and women's basketball teams spent time with 5-10-year-olds at the Florence Fuller Child Development Center in east Boca. The student-athletes led the children in several games and spent time playing their respective sports.
"It was fun and energetic out here today," said defensive lineman Steven Leggett. "We played football, we raced the kids, we played basketball, jump roped and played with chalk. (Coming out) shows that our program can be involved in the community and not just involved in football. It was great to show the kids a good time."
When we're not working we're giving back. Another great time at Florence Fuller right here in Boca! pic.twitter.com/ElLtT5kBpJ
-- FAU Athletics (@FAUAthletics) July 10, 2017
"The children love having special visitors. They really look up to college students, so it's really a great opportunity for us to introduce them to older individuals who are still young at heart," said Sheila Jones, Florence Fuller volunteer/project manager. "I think that anytime you can share the love of something that you love with younger kids, it always goes back to igniting the spark. Sometimes as a child, especially as a young child, they might not even really fully know their talent or ability or that they would like something and then someone comes along and shares that with them and it opens up a whole world."
That was just the first of many stops for the Owls on their quest to make the surrounding community a better place to live, work and play. On Saturday, July 8, 30 members of the football team, along with Assistant Offensive Line Coach Garin Justice and graduate assistant Chris Rutledge, joined Paint Your Heart Out and spent the morning painting a home of a local community who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.
"It means a lot to us to get out and make an impact, especially since we have several local players that have seen the benefit this team has on the surrounding community," said kicker Greg Joseph. "This was our second time partnering with Paint Your Heart Out, and it truly gives us a sense of pride upon finishing an event and seeing how thankful the affected individual is."
The following week, the Owls set their sights on Boys & Girls Clubs in both Broward and Palm Beach Counties. FAU student-athletes made visits to three different locations and spent time interacting with the children. On Monday, July 10, the Owls played flag football with a group of nine-year-olds at the Jim and Jan Moran Girls & Boys Club in Deerfield Beach. On Tuesday, another group went to the Wellington Boys & Girls Club. The last stop was at the Thomas D. Stephanis Boys & Girls Club in Pompano Beach on Wednesday, July 12. A group of FAU football players faced 9-12 and 13-18-year-olds in several games of flag football. The Boys & Girls Club staff even challenged the Owls to a game.
-- FAU Athletics (@FAUAthletics) July 13, 2017
"Anytime we have athletes in the building, the kids love that," said Brandon McCall, club director. "Our kids are very competitive. They are going to get out there with the athletes and try to do their best against them. I believe the benefit or takeaway the kids will get from the FAU student-athletes is that they can see most of those kids were just like them when they were younger. They will be able to relate to those individuals."
Athletics' next stop will be the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches on July 19 and 20. Owls from several FAU teams will be working interactive clinics at the event, which is being held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Festival participants will have the opportunity to get hands on experience and develop skills in over 45 different sports clinics. The student-athletes will be conducting interactive sessions specific to each of their sports where they will share techniques, enhance skills and provide an introduction to the sport.
For all the latest news and to see if the Owls are coming to a city near you, make sure to follow FAU Athletics on Facebook and Twitter @FAUAthletics as well as visit www.FAUsports.com.
Florence Fuller Child Development Centers
Florence Fuller Child Development Centers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of children from economically challenged families with the goal of preparing children for a lifetime commitment to learning and empowering their families to build a brighter future. Through education, employment assistance, and a powerful support system of teachers and staff that truly care. We believe every child should have the chance to learn, grow, and experience success in school and life regardless of their ability to pay. Today Florence Fuller has grown from 22 children to serving more than 700 children a year across two campuses in east Boca Raton and the more rural west Boca Raton.
Paint Your Heart Out Palm Beach County
Paint Your Heart Out Palm Beach County is a county-wide program that enables citizens, businesses, clubs, and organizations to lend a helping hand to low-income, qualifying, grateful residents in our community. Over the past 20 years, volunteers and sponsors have given of themselves to paint over 300+ homes every year.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles.