There are so many wonderful things about the University of Louisville. Athletics tend to garner most of the attention but that’s understandable being that it’s a multi million dollar business and Louisville is pretty good in every sport right now. It is definitely a great time to be a Cardinal. The student athletes work, practice and study very hard to be the best in the classroom and on the field/court/pitch etc. They receive awards and accolades for their performances in academics and athletics but what often goes unnoticed is their contributions of giving back to the community.
Only a very small percent of the student athletes will go on and become professionals in their sport. Most will need the training they receive in school to progress as a successful contributing member of society. It is my belief that in order to attain that status as an adult you must learn to attain balance in your life. Sound mind, sound body. As a Sig Ep, I subscribe to the ancient Greek belief that the mind is central to humanity and that the body serves as a vessel for the mind, and thus the exercise of both is necessary for a balanced life. Maintaining a sound body goes beyond workout programs. It includes physical, nutritional, sexual and preventative health practices. Developing a sound mind means living a lifestyle that allows you to expand and challenge your mind both inside and outside of the classroom. Sound mind programming goes beyond study hours and tutors. It challenges you to look for learning experiences outside of the classroom. The student athletes at Louisville have no problem keeping a sound body with all the advancements in health fitness and specialty, nutritional and exercise staff that is assigned to keep them well-rounded physically. Keeping a sound mind is more of a challenge and that responsibility falls more on the individual student athlete. Finding ways to learn and expand your mind outside the classroom is very difficult for 18-22 year olds. That’s where CardsCare comes in.
The University of Louisville has a community outreach program called CardsCare. The CardsCare program is designed to give UofL student-athletes the unique opportunity to spend much of their time giving back to the surrounding community. Louisville student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and staff members volunteer their time and talent with numerous organizations. ” I am very proud of the work that is done in the community. Each year the goal is to be able to give back just a little bit more than the previous year. As a former student athlete at UofL, I know that I’m lucky to be able to help the next generation of cardinals and see them increase their involvement in the community” said Monica Negron, the campus & community relations coordinator of the CardsCare program.
Most of you saw the story ESPN did on Keith Kelsey who spent every Monday with a man fighting for his life. Thousands of you read my story on Bryson Betts (UPDATE: He went back to school on Monday) and almost all of you saw the story of Lamar meeting a local high school girl battling cancer. But there are so many other stories that go unnoticed. Here is a short video of their work just from September,
I wanted to take this opportunity to shine some light on all the things this great program does. All of these great things are happening right here in our community by our student athletes, alumni, coaches, volunteers and Louisville’s own CardsCare staff. I have personally seen the effect this program has on a family. They can help make a very difficult situation just a little bit easier. Thank you for all you do.
Below you will find some examples of community service projects CardsCare is involved with as well as some videos and pictures detailing their work. You can follow CardsCare on Twitter @LouisvilleLCARE #CardsCARE or their website http://www.gocards.com/sports/2015/3/26/GEN_20140101230.aspx Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/126381434@N08/
Community Service Examples
CardsCARE has partnered with 200 organizations throughout the year
- Patient Visits
- Whether if there are the cases like Ryan McMahon and Keith Kelsey and their amazing patient visits. Student-athletes will go and deliver posters and small gifts to patients. Other moments when requests become dire, CardsCARE staff does all within its power to be able to make each patient’s wish come true.
- Read Across America
- During the month of march student-athletes will go and read Elementary School students during Dr. Seuss’s birthday month
- Metro Parks and Recreation Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation Program
- A lot of programming is done with adapted sports. Student-athletes will go and help during all of the regular programming offered to those in the adapted sports community. They will play wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, beep baseball, adapted bowling, and help out at major national Special Olympic tournaments held in Louisville.
- International Trips
- Baseball took a trip to the Dominican Republic last year
- Women’s Basketball gave back while they were in Cuba
- Coach for College
- 2-3 student-athletes participate in the Coach for College program year. Coach for College is a program where student-athletes from ACC partner schools go to Vietnam for 3 weeks and teach general classes to young students while also adding a fitness component into their daily lives
- Steps with Seniors
- Twice a month student-athletes go and take a walk with senior citizens and participate in their fitness classes
- Kentucky Humane Society
- Many student-athletes will spend their free time helping out their four-legged friends at the animal shelter
- Louie’s Fit Friends
- Partner with JCPS Elementary Schools to incentivize young students to be active for at least 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks straight. The kids who complete the program then earn a ticket to go see the Women’s Basketball team play a game in December. For the schools with the highest participation, they get to a special surprise from the student-athletes.
- Each athletic facility houses a WaterStep collection bin for shoes. Donating new and gently used shoes to WaterStep helps fund safe drinking water projects all over the world — projects that help to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. In addition to funding water projects, donated shoes keep hundreds of tons of waste out of our landfills. We accept all types of shoes from high heels to high tops. Shoes are sold to an exporter and funds received help bring clean water to those in need.
- MISC Appearance Requests
- Non-profits and educational communities can send a request to CardsCARE staff about upcoming events where help is needed. Based on practice & class schedules, they look to see if how and to what capacity we are able to best assist the projects.
As Always, GO CARDS!