For Immediate Release
Somerset, NJ – Representatives from the Northeast Conference (NEC) Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) came together for their annual winter summit in Harrisburg, PA from Feb. 25-26 prepared to discuss pertinent student athlete issues, but also to serve the community.
For the second year in a row, the student-athletes spent time at the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation, assembling over 2,000 care packages to be delivered to pediatric cancer patients through the Foundation’s Bear-Able Gift Bag program. Each year the program distributes toys to 12,000 children from 219 different hospitals.
In addition to volunteering their time to package up crayons, stuffed animals and other childhood essentials, the student-athletes presented a check for $8,185.24 to the Foundation. This year’s total was two and a half times the amount the conference donated in the 2011. Since the partnership began in 2010 the conference has contributed over $14,000.
In order to raise money, SAAC members spent the month of February promoting a fundraising challenge at their respective institutions. “Penny Wars,” as it was appropriately named, encouraged student-athletes to compete within their athletic departments to see which teams could collect the most pennies. Larger coins and dollar bills cancelled penny equivalents, so opposing teams were able to thwart the competition while still donating to a great cause. This year’s winner of “Penny Wars” was Robert Morris who contributed $2,787 to the cause.
The SAAC representatives from Robert Morris stated that much of their success came as a result of the enthusiasm from their fellow student athletes and coaches. LIU Brooklyn tennis player Taysha Blessington attributed the Blackbird’s success to an increased interest in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee,” Student Athletes wanted to be there at meetings, so they wanted to participate,” she stated.
“Wow!” was first thing Greg Anderson, founder of the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation said when presented with this year’s check. “We so appreciate what the Northeast Conference is doing for Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation. Your partnership is treasured.”
The money raised goes to the Foundation’s Helping Hands Fund, which provides emergency financial relief to families whose children have cancer and are experiencing financial strain as a result. Donations end up footing the bill for dire situations like rent evictions and utility shut-off notices.
According to Anderson, in today’s difficult economy, demands for such funds increased by quadruple the amount.
“Giving back to the community is one of the primary goals of every athletics department within the Northeast Conference, and once a year our student athletes come together as one team in support of the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation,” said Noreen Morris, Commissioner of the NEC. “Working with an organization that provides assistance to those experiencing both physical and financial adversity allows our student athletes to gain perspective on the multitude of opportunities they have. We are privileged and honored to have the opportunity to assist with the Bear-Able Gift Bag program and to contribute financially to support families fighting pediatric cancer.”
The Northeast Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee consists of 24 members – comprised of two varsity athletes from each conference institution – who give voice to the student-athlete perspective on a regional and national level. The committee provides a medium for its members to develop leadership skills, promote community service and enhance the overall student-athlete experience.
If you would like to learn more about the Northeast Conference, visit www.northeastconference.org.