The mission of the University Athletic Association’s Goodwill Gators Community Outreach Program is to foster citizenship between staff, coaches, student-athletes and the greater Gainesville community. Through volunteerism, Goodwill Gators will:
- enhance the personal development of student-athletes.
- strengthen our commitment to the greater Gainesville and surrounding communities.
- encourage citizenship, civic virtues and how one should behave as part of a community.
Over the 2014-2015 year Gator Student-Athletes completed 4,365 hours of community service to the greater Gainesville Area. 449 student-athletes or 90 percent of the student-athlete populations participated in service activities. Gator student-athletes impacted 22 nonprofits, 23 local schools, and 10 civic organizations. The year was highlighted by Gator Tracks deliveries of 450 shoes and socks delivered to local school on free or reduced lunch.
Life Skills Cup:
The Point System:
- 50 points for attending a workshop/ speaker/ 1 volunteer hour
- 20 points for attending SAAC or Gator Grind meetings
- 20 points for registering an Internship experience
- 5-10 points for registering a Part-time job or Practicum experience
- 1-5 points for attending Adopt-A-Team, Career Fair, Recruiter Roundtable events or other activities as they arise
- 3 points for registering a Job shadow experience
- 2014-2015 Winner: Gymnastics
- Top Three Women’s Teams: Gymnastics, Softball, Swimming
- Top Three Men’s Teams: Basketball, Tennis, Football
Climb for Cancer
For the 9th consecutive year Gators Student-Athletes volunteered their weekend at the Climb for Cancer field day event. The morning began with breakfast and introductions. Over 240 student-athletes joined the camp participants in enjoying basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, and dance drills. At the conclusion of the event student-athletes and participants gathered for autographs and pizza.
Climb for Cancer is a non-profit organization that sponsors children whom have fought or are fighting cancer and gives them the opportunity to participate in a sports clinic. Participants and their families were able to meet student-athletes and use the University Athletic Association’s facilities through the partnership formed with the Otis Hawkins Center for Academic and Personal Excellence and UAA Departments.
Miracle on Main Street
The Junior League’s Miracle on Main Street was held December 6th in downtown Gainesville. Miracle on Main Street provides families the opportunity to shop for presents donated through gifts from the local community. 30 student-athletes arrived at 7:45am to volunteer with the families and their children. Student-athletes helped select and wrap presents, entertain kids, and deliver presents to cars.
By the end of the day over 500 families had been served. With the help of the student-athletes over 1,000 school children in the area received what could be their only presents under the Christmas tree. Miracle on Main Street provided Gator Student-Athletes with one of their last chances to impact the community before studying for finals and leaving for Christmas Break.
Gator Tracks - in its 14th year – remains as one of the University Athletic Association’s biggest events during the Fall Semester. Gator Tracks provides shoes for students in seven schools in Alachua County on free or reduced lunch. Starting November 3rd student-athletes, staff, coaches, and administration from the UAA began to collect school age shoes, socks, and monetary donations.
At the beginning of December Hawkins Center staff ventured to local shoe stores to purchase shoes and socks with the donated money. After all of the shoes were collected, a Wrapping Party was planned for the student-athletes. On December 9th the Hawkins Center hosted SAAC’s annual wrapping party in order to wrap and organize all 450 pairs of shoes preparing them for the deliveries beginning December 11th.
Each school day from December 11th to December 19th a group of Gator Student-Athletes met at the Hawkins Center to deliver shoes to one of the seven schools. At the school, student-athletes organized the shoes by class for distribution. Each class was greeted by Gator student-athletes who presented them with socks and shoes that were to be unwrapped and tried on.
Gator Move is an initiative for Gator student-athletes to help educate and encourage healthy lifestyles for young children in the community. This fall the program has had great success at its first elementary school with over 55 different student-athlete volunteers, in its inaugural season. What sets the Gator Move Initiative apart from other SEC schools’ move programs is that Gator Move went into one elementary school every Monday and Wednesday morning from 6:45am - 8:00am, during the 2014-2015 school year.