Kansas Athletics Stays Active During Holiday Season

Dec. 12, 2012

J. FothLAWRENCE, Kan. – As another semester winds down Kansas Athletics and its student-athletes remain active on-and-off the field of play, but it’s not just tests that are keeping the Jayhawks busy. KU student-athletes and athletic department staff members have donated their time, effort and money to a handful of seasonal efforts in the past several weeks.

KUAthletics.com continues its week-long, mini-series “Season of Giving” highlighting the efforts by student-athletes and staff to give back to the community, local and abroad, by looking back in brief.

Kansas Staff Assists with Thanksgiving Distribution
A handful of athletic department staff members volunteered in two shifts to help distribute Thanksgiving food baskets at the Salvation Army (Nov. 20). Representatives from Kansas’ communications, sports medicine, strength and conditioning and Williams Education Fund (WEF) staffs spent the day walking families through the distribution process and assisting with carry outs at the Salvation Army Community Center at 10th and New Hampshire.

SAAC Decorates, Donates Tree for Festival of Trees
Members of Kansas’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) were among the more than 50 organizations to decorate and donate a tree to Lawrence’s Festival of Trees benefiting The Shelter, Inc. The trees were display at Liberty Hall and were auctioned off Nov. 27. Madison Wagner (swimming and diving) and Shane Smith (football) helped decorate the tree that was auctioned off for more than $1,000.

Kansas Staff Helps Share the Warmth
Kansas student-athletes and staff collected more than 100 coats during an internal coat drive, then donated the new or gently-used garments to Scotch Cleaners to be cleaned. The coats were then donated to the Salvation Army for distribution during the week after Thanksgiving. Athletic department involvement didn’t end there, as a group of full-time staff, including the baseball and softball coaching staffs and Kansas’ leadership team, helped sort the coats in preparation for the day of the distribution.

The Sweeter Side of Giving: Cookies
The Jayhawks did their share of cookie decorating in the past two weeks with members of SAAC putting their artistic abilities to the test while prepping cookies for the Windsor Assisted Living Home, followed a week later by the swimming and diving team styling treats to deliver to Pioneer Ridge Assisted Living Home.

“It’s not every day that we get to take a break from school and have some fun and decorate cookies like when we were younger,” junior Alison Lusk said. “We always do a community service thing during the holidays, anything to give back and do what we can to help out.”

The Kansas men’s golf team visited Windsor and delivered the cookies to residents.

Rowers Adopt Angels, Help Set Up Joy Shop
Members of the Kansas rowing team were among the first to adopt a family and shop for gifts. The KU men’s and women’s basketball teams will follow suit later this week. Teams adopt families who have been identified by local agencies, then purchase a specific gift for each member of the family. The rowing team also helped in the set-up of the Salvation Army’s Joy Shop – a mass distribution of toys and gifts to those in Douglas County who can’t afford to purchase the gifts themselves. Athletic department staff members will help also help with the distribution at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Thursday and Friday.

Kansas Track Tie-Dyes Shirts for Hootenanny
Members of the Jayhawk track & field team pitched in to help Independence Inc. (Dec. 1), a Lawrence organization that provides advocacy, services and education to people with disabilities throughout the community. The track team lent a hand, tie-dying shirts for Independence Inc.’s benefit concert called the Homegrass Hootenanny at The Granada Theater in downtown Lawrence. The tie-dyed shirts were sold at the concert.

Garrett Visits Youth Ranch After Taming Buffaloes
Kansas men’s basketball player Christian Garrett kept it a western-themed weekend when he visited the O’Connell Youth Ranch a day after helping the Jayhawks roll past the Colorado Buffaloes, 90-54, in Allen Fieldhouse. Garrett was a special guest for the ranch’s annual Christmas party. The O’Connell Youth Ranch aims to help male youth who are experiencing family or personal life crisis.

“I definitely want to go back and hang out,” Garrett said. “It gave me an appreciation for what I have and challenged me to help other people. I was excited for the opportunity to pour into them. The Youth Ranch is awesome, they do so much for those kids to change their lives. It was awesome – a great experience.”

A Chance to Join In: Toys for Tots
The Jayhawks are hoping others will help contribute to the “Season of Giving” this weekend when the department will partner with the United States Marine Corps to collect new, unwrapped toys at the men’s and women’s basketball games. There will be a Toys for Tots collection at the men’s basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 15, against Belmont and the collection bins will still be in place on Sunday, Dec. 16. Fans who donate on Sunday will receive free admittance to the women’s basketball game against Prairie View A&M.

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