FULLERTON, Calif. – One of the key aspects to being a student-athlete at Cal State Fullerton is the additional responsibility of completing community service efforts throughout the school year.
Each program decides on various outreach activities for its student-athletes to take part in, such as Titan Tales, camps, student Move-In Day and working with local organizations looking to make a difference in the community. As a whole, Cal State Fullerton student-athletes completed 1,470 hours of service from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014.
One of the largest community outreach services that CSF student-athletes take part in is Titan Tales, a program started by Marketing and Promotions Coordinator Becca Dobbs. The program puts Cal State Fullerton student-athletes right into the heart of Orange County elementary schools in an effort to promote the importance of reading, and the impact good reading habits will have on young students’ lives.
Titan student-athletes read to the youngsters in a classroom setting and then talk to them about what it is like to go to college, how to balance school and sports, and how attending to Cal State Fullerton has positively affected their lives.
“The goal of the program is for the student-athletes to give back to the community and inspire children in any way that they can,” explains Dobbs. “The overall purpose was to get student-athletes out into the community and to give back.
“I would also like to start hosting assemblies, which would include junior high and high school students, and potentially hospitals and recreational clubs, and would involve the student-athletes giving motivational speeches to inspire students to continue their education into college and possibly participate in athletics at the collegiate level.”
While Cal State Fullerton athletic teams are not required to participate in community service activities, many programs have made it a priority, recognizing the importance of giving back to the community.
“All of our student-athletes and coaches have accepted the Titan Tales program and think that it is great,” adds Dobbs. “The schools that we volunteer at keep signing up and adding more classes. The teachers have also spread the word throughout the teaching community, sharing the program with their friends at different schools and even in different districts. We’ve only had positive responses from the schools that we visit.”
Each program will typically choose its own organization that it would like to volunteer with. For example, Cal State Fullerton’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has designated the Orangewood Children’s Foundation as receipt of its fundraising efforts.
“We want our student-athletes to recognize the importance of giving back and the value in making a difference in someone’s life,” Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Women’s Administrator, Meredith Basil said. “Our goal for next year is to again increase our involvement throughout the community.”
The women’s basketball team put its off days to good use, doing its part to give back to the community. Student-athletes and members of the coaching staff spent the better part of an afternoon in early December wrapping presents for a local family in need through the Healthy Start Program, a program dedicated to helping single mothers in need with medical care, helping at-risk women meet their basic human needs such as food and housing, and empowering their participants to advocate for themselves.
In addition, the women’s basketball team participated in Titan Tales, assisted with the Susan G. Komen Foundation in Newport Beach, Calif., and played its first-annual pink game against Cal State Northridge in Titan Gym, with donations accepted for the Play 4Kay Foundation.
The Titans also partnered with the men’s basketball team at GOALS, a clinic that provides skill instruction and a question-and-answer session with the student-athletes. GOALS (Growth. Opportunities. Athletics. Learning. Service) is an Anaheim based non-profit that invites Division I teams to help teach and coach underprivileged youth, meeting five days a week to offer sports and science lessons to local youth.
The women’s soccer program also assisted local youth by providing skill instruction for Fullerton Rangers Youth Soccer Club at Bastanchury Park, as well as taking part in a Fun Run, Titan Tales and the Harvest Festival at Golden Hill Elementary. Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams partnered with Soccer For Hope, a non-profit cancer awareness foundation located in Orange County, to help spread cancer awareness at the team’s spring finale.
The Cal State Fullerton baseball and softball programs also contributed significant hours to helping the community. The baseball team participated in two Titan Tales, assisted with the set up and breakdown of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, visited five local Little League opening days, and visited with participants at the Donate Life Run/Walk hosted at Cal State Fullerton.
The softball program participated in the Uncorked Fundraiser at the Cal State Fullerton Arboretum, which involved participating in set up as well as serving guests. In the fall, the Titans put together a beach clean up at Seal Beach, and participated in a coaching clinic, providing skill demonstration at East Lake Park. The Titans hosted four youth camps, visited the CSF Children’s Center for Titan Tales and helped students move in to the dorms during Move-In Day.