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UWRF athletes to mentor, give back to community during Kids’ Night Out

December 2, 2010

Kids in the River Falls community will have an opportunity to play games and hang out with UW-River Falls student athletes this Sunday at Karges Center from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The second annual Kids’ Night Out event is put on by The Student Athlete Advisory Committee and coordinated by Student Senate Athletic Representative Ricky Hoffman.

Some of the activities that are planned for the event include a four square tournament, floor hockey, basketball, movies and arts and crafts, said Hoffman.

The target age group for the event is first through fifth graders so Hoffman sent out brochures to the area elementary schools advertising the event.

Last year there were around 40 kids at the event and Hoffman said he is hoping for the same or greater turn out on Sunday.

This Sunday’s event is not only a way for student athletes to mentor kids to become future leaders but it is also a way to give back to the community, said SAAC President Colleen Kopel.

“We feel that it’s important for athletes to give back to the community. The community helps support us during our athletic events and this is a way to show our thank yous.”

It is mandatory for all the SAAC representatives to attend the event, said Kopel.

The NCAA has made it a requirement that all member institutions have a SAAC at their universities, according to the NCAA website.

A way SAAC directly impacted the community of River Falls was on Halloween.  As part of a long running event, around 250 student athletes went out into the River Falls neighborhoods to trick or treat for canned goods.  The student athletes raised 3,205 pounds of food, which set a record in non-perishable food collecting.  The food was sent to the River Falls Community Food Pantry.

Director of Athletics Roger Ternes, stresses the importance of the SAAC.

“It is invaluable to give back to the community that supports intercollegiate athletics.  It is a great way to engage young, collegiate adults with special athletic skills to use their “celebrity” status in humanistic endeavors.”