FULLERTON, Calif. -- One of Cal State Fullerton athletic department's most popular community outreach programs, Titan Tales, is completely booked for the 2012-13 academic year. The schedule, which features 21 different dates for student-athletes to visit area schools to read to students, was completely full within three weeks of announcement of the available dates. The first event takes place this Friday morning, October 5, when the volleyball team heads to Sunset Lane Elementary school to visit with fourth graders.
"Each team participates and we hear all the time from our student-athletes about how much they enjoy the program," said Becca Dobbs, assistant in the Athletics Ticket Office which administers Titan Tales.
The brainchild of several members of the department in conjunction with the student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC), Titan Tales developed not only as a way for current student-athletes at Fullerton to meet young members of the community but as a way to promote how much education means to them. Emphasizing how they balance the demands of college life and attention to their sport, Titan student-athletes describe how Cal State Fullerton is positively effecting their lives, while encourage their younger peers to focus on their education.
"My favorite part was answering their questions about college soccer and then playing soccer with them at break time," recalled Lauren Kelly, junior women's soccer team member.
"My favorite thing about participating was meeting all the kids and seeing how excited they were to see us," Ariel Tsuchiyama, senior softball player enthused. "I also loved being back in that environment because it made me feel like a kid again!"
Tara Indelicato, a member of the award-winning dance team at Cal State Fullerton, added: "Of course Titan Tales is amazing because we're inspiring and educating the kids on the importance of, not only reading, but the ability to attend a college of their choice. However, my favorite part is the overall interaction with the kids. It's reassuring to find that these kids already have an insight as to where they want to go to school and what they want to study at such an early point in their lives."
Geared toward Kindergarten through 6th grade, this year's immediate response to book dates is reinforcement that the program is mutually beneficial.
"As we made our way around the classroom signing our autographs on posters, pencil boxes, and notebooks we could see how quickly we became role models for these kids. I'm just your average college student, but when you walk into that classroom you become more than that. It is such a good feeling that these kids look up to you and will always remember this experience you shared with them," Indelicato said.
Classroom visits are scheduled for Friday mornings between 9 and 11 a.m. by various teachers and contacts in nearby schools after a letter is sent each fall from the Athletics Ticket Office on behalf of the SAAC group. Every effort is made to book teams which are currently competing, but the popularity of the program inside the Titan athletic department family has meant that often members of teams out of season will also appear at various times throughout the year.
"We'll send our letters out again next fall," Dobbs added. "But, I'd sure recommend teachers get back to us early so we can get their classrooms booked."