Feb. 21, 2013
Notre Dame, Ind. - Members of the University of Notre Dame football team will take time out of their busy schedules on Saturday morning, Feb. 23 to spend time with youngsters associated with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in South Bend.
A fun-filled day of football-related activities will begin for attendees and Irish players at 10:00 am in the Guglielmino Athletics Complex on campus and will conclude at 12:30 pm at Notre Dame Stadium.
"To be able to develop a relationship with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program fits right in with something Coach (Brian) Kelly wants to do," says Ernest Jones, director of football player engagement, "It was a program that we targeted and really falls under what Coach Kelly preaches about, being `other-centered', where you have the opportunity to care more about other people than yourself."
While the decision for Big Brothers Big Sisters to be the organization chosen was an easy one, the club in particular has a special meaning to many involved with the football program.
"This one is special, just the ability to give back, " Jones says. "These young people truly don't have a big brother or big sister to lean on. And we actually have a couple of young men that were a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program who get to come back and speak to these young people on Saturday. Just the opportunity to truly be someone's big brother and big sister makes it valuable to these young men."
"The partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters provides a great opportunity for our student-athletes to engage in a transformational service experience. Our hope is that an experience like this may possibly result in a life-long pursuit of service and mentoring opportunities," says Duke Preston, Notre Dame's student welfare and development program director.
Preston also says that with an event of this nature, the hope is to inspire children to dream big. "We take great pride in hosting community groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters. By hosting this special group of young people, we hope that they will find the excellence of Notre Dame to be tangible.
"By being able to sit in the actual chairs of collegiate football players and high-five some of their favorite guys to watch on television, their (the children's) dreams take another step closer to becoming reality."
When the "littles" - kids between the ages of six and twelve years old - arrive with their regular big brothers and sisters to the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, a highlight film celebrating the 2012 football campaign will be airing on video screens in the lobby. Following opening remarks, the student-athlete mentors will make a brief presentation and then will show another video.
At the conclusion of the video, the mentors will guide the children through a tour of the football complex, followed by a brief skills session beginning at 11:00 a.m. Both Notre Dame football staff and student-athletes will be on hand to run drill stations where kids can participate in an on-field football practice. Kids who play will have the opportunity to learn how to throw a football, catch it and run through the bags alongside student-athletes who will assist with being big brothers for the day. As the field day events conclude, there will be a group photo taken and a brief autograph session for the youngsters.
Wrapping up the day's activities will be a guided tour of Notre Dame Stadium and the players' locker room.
For further information on the Big Brothers/ Big Sisters program, please contact Christine Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (269) 684-1100.
For more information on this Saturday's events, contact Duke Preston at email@example.com or by phone at (574) 631-5499.