Jayhawks Commitment to Service
Kansas Athletics facilitates and encourages involvement by our teams and individual student-athletes in the life of their community outside the boundaries of their normal college existence. As volunteers, KU student-athletes not only represent themselves, but also their respective teams, Kansas Athletics and the University of Kansas. By volunteering and giving back to Lawrence and surrounding communities, KU student-athletes gain leadership skills through service while providing a positive influence in their community.
The following provides an overview of Kansas Athletics' community service programs:
The Jayhawk Student Athlete Advisory Committee have a strong partnership with Special Olympics Kansas. Special Olympics, which is the Big 12 Conference charity of choice, is an international organization created to help people with intellectual disabilities develop self-confidence and social skills through sports training and competition. Among their other activities, Special Olympics conducts the Special Olympics World Games every four years.
Jayhawk student-athletes have the opportunity to volunteer throughout the year to participate in events such as bowling, attending Jayhawk sporting events, and also events at PowerPlay, which is a family fun entertainment center that features laser tag, bumper cars and an arcade. All of these events are aimed at developing a social bond with Special Olympians while having fun.
Visit the Jayhawks: Many local elementary and junior high students had the opportunity to visit the athletics facilities and meet KU student-athletes during a "Visit the Jayhawks" tour. Tours can include a scavenger hunt in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, touring various sports facilities, and meeting coaches and student-athletes. Jayhawks share a message with the students that stress the importance of hard work in school and achieving goals.
Jayhawks READ program: Kansas Athletics have joined with KU Libraries to promote literacy in the Lawrence community. Kansas Athletics representatives appear on posters, which will be distributed to elementary students throughout the state. Student-athletes make numerous visits to local elementary schools throughout the academic year to read to young students. Program launched in January 2008.
Fun and Fitness with the Jayhawks: Fun and Fitness supports the Lawrence school district's wellness initiative by providing student-athletes the opportunity to motivate young elementary students to exercise and eat well during regular visits to elementary classrooms throughout the Lawrence community. The students receive a brochure with diet and exercise tips. The children can also use the brochure to track their weekly activity with the "Fun and Fitness Log." In pledging to eat healthy foods and exercise 30 minutes a day, students also get the autograph of their student-athlete "captain."
Hawks, Cops and Kids volunteer: This annual event sponsored by Kansas Athletics, Big Brothers Big Sisters and local law enforcement personnel, provides an opportunity for youth in grades 3-8 to meet and interact with law enforcement professionals and Kansas student-athletes. The students are divided into groups and escorted to stations where they learned instruction in a variety of sports as well as personal safety/stranger danger, internet safety, anti-drug awareness, and health and nutrition. More than 125 children and law enforcement officials come together for this special day.