MAILED: Nov. 16, 2000
Several members of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team are making a difference in the lives of area school children.
Approximately 12-20 Blugold football players are volunteering their time to interact with students at Putnam Heights Elementary School and DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire. Activities in which they participate include reading activities, supervised playgrounds, and eating breakfast and lunch with the students. Some of the players are using the experience to fulfill the universitys service-learning requirement while others are participating for fun.
Todd Hoffner, lecturer of kinesiology and the Blugold football coach, believes this interaction provides a great opportunity for the football program to extend itself to the community in a positive manner.
I know that most of the people who work with our players look up to them as role models, Hoffner said. I know our players appreciate the attention and actually enjoy the experience. It is a two-way street that has a tremendous amount of educational opportunity for both parties.
Senior Matthew Greeson, Rochester, Minn., has been volunteering at Putnam Heights once a week since the beginning of the fall semester. He works with a program called PlayFair, where students play noncompetitive games to help with team building.
It has been a joy to work with the kids, Greeson said. It has been a benefit to us and to the students. I would definitely do it again.
Sophomore Adam Burger, Eau Claire, also has volunteered at Putnam Heights. He has interacted with the students during recess, playing Frisbee and catch football.
The kids really look up to us because we are football players from the university, Burger said. Its fun to show football players as positive role models.
Hoffner is happy with how the program has been conducted and the feedback received from it. He plans to continue the program in the future.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Nov. 16, 2000