BABSON PARK, Mass.—The Babson College Department of Athletics and Recreation secured a grant from the Yawkey Foundations with the funds being utilized toward a leading community service program that develops relationships with youth organizations and serves the disadvantaged.
Titled Babson Athletics Play it Forward, the program introduces a culture of community service and philanthropy to Babson student-athletes while exposing disadvantaged students to role models to reinforce values, life skills and work habits students need in order to be successful.
"In addition to developing well-rounded student-athletes who excel both in the classroom and on the fields of play, the department aims to create a program of distinction in the area of service to the community," said Pamela P. and Brian M. Barefoot Senior Director of Athletics and Athletics Advancement Mike Lynch.
"We believe that partnerships with community-based organizations produce a myriad of benefits for our undergraduates, introducing them to some of society's most pressing challenges while presenting opportunities for growth and working toward solutions on issues they are most certain to face as emerging leaders in business and in their own community."
Presently, Babson's varsity programs and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) have relationships with Special Olympics of Massachusetts, Team IMPACT and CFES Brilliant Pathways. The goal is to create a consistent framework in engagement so that all programs receive equal support while serving as a nimble partner in understanding and adapting an approach to meet each individual organization's programmatic needs.
In addition to the aforementioned partners, SAAC and its advisor Shannon Torosian are looking to delve into new partnerships with organizations such as Challenger Little League and The Base, which will bring meaningful experiences to both developmentally disabled and urban youth through baseball. The plan is to also partner with the College's admission and student services divisions to provide full introductions and opportunities for additional educational offerings.
The goals of the Play it Forward program are to:
- Develop a focused, dependable program with five to six disadvantaged youth-focused non-profit organizations
- Familiarize Babson student-athletes with partner organizations, their mission, goals and individuals they serve
- Develop mutually beneficial individual relationships between Babson student-athletes and disadvantaged students, with the College's student-athletes serving as role models and near-peer mentors while instilling a make it happen mindset
- Have the youth from partner organizations be exposed to new opportunities and fun events while developing relationships with Babson's student-athletes who will serve as models for leadership, hard work, perseverance, and study habits
- Reinforce the importance of community service and philanthropy, and the impact our student-athletes can have on those less fortunate, while simultaneously creating a pipeline of dependable volunteers and programs for the partner organizations