Bowling Green, Ky. - On Wednesday, Western Kentucky University athletics joined hundreds of other volunteers in the Bowling Green community in the fourth annual United Way Day of Caring. WKU's participation is a component of the athletics department's expansive Hilltoppers with Heart Community Service program.
Over 150 student-athletes, coaches and staff from throughout WKU athletics took part in the Kid's Sports Clinic held at the Bowling Green Boys and Girls Club. The volunteers split up into morning and afternoon shifts, and took part in a wide variety of activities from board games, to kickball, to reading books and playing video games.
This marks the second straight year that the athletics department has taken part in the Day of Caring. In fact, the 2011 event was the inaugural project for Hilltoppers with Heart.
Hilltoppers with Heart is designed to give WKU student athletes, coaches and staff the unique opportunity to make an impact in our community by volunteering their time and talent with numerous organizations.
Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, United Way of Southern Kentucky has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work. As part of the United Way of Southern Kentucky's 3rd Annual Day of Caring, hundreds of volunteers from throughout the community join local non-profit organizations and work to make real changes in people's lives.
Volleyball Head Coach Travis Hudson
"Doing projects like this is a huge part of a learning process for our kids. I want them to be great volleyball players and great students, but even as a volleyball player myself, so much of what I learned was outside of the classroom. These college kids are so wrapped up with their own lives so often that it's really good to see the impact that they can have on other people.
Football Team Chaplin and former student-athlete Sean Pugh
"Not only is it a huge deal for these kids, which is ultimately what we are here for - to serve the kids and play with the kids - but it is also a huge aspect of developing young men and women into men and women. It helps in their development and helps them grow learning to give back and to serve others without expecting anything out of it and out of the good of their hearts. I know with WKU football and WKU basketball, soccer and all the other sports, this is helping them mature. It is a good thing both ways, for the kids and for the student-athletes."
WKU Football Junior Luis Polanco
"Early on in their lives kids need a role model, someone to look up to. We as football players, they're always looking up to us. Spending time with them, it gives them something positive and something they'll talk about. It reminds me of my childhood. Hula hoops, football, running around and not a thing in the world to worry about except to play. For them to see us out here as regular people, and to see us on Saturday night with our uniform on, it gives them something to talk about 'Like oh yeah I played with them at school one day.'"
WKU Basketball Senior Jamal Crook
"We're out here today letting people know that we care in all aspects. It's not just about basketball. It's about coming out and having fun with the kids and letting them see our personalities outside of basketball. I think it means a lot to them. They always look at us playing basketball, I think its big that they get a chance to meet us and have fun with us. I think it's a big blessing. Growing up I got a chance to play basketball with a lot of guys older than me, for me it's a blessing to come out here and have fun with guys that look up to you."