Azusa Pacific student-athletes engaging and serving

Azusa Pacific OUtreach AZUSA, Calif. – Azusa Pacific University Athletics is embracing NCAA Division II’s emphasis on community engagement through a variety of team-based projects and activities within the local community.

Although Cougar teams have served and engaged with the local community for years during its membership with the NAIA, Azusa Pacific’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members have focused on continuing the intentional efforts of connecting with the surrounding communities.

Teams for Toys

For the second consecutive year, through the coordination of SAAC, Cougar athletic teams contributed more than 50 toys in December 2012 for The Shepherd’s Pantry in Glendora, Calif.

The mission of Shepherd’s Pantry is to “provide emergency food, clothing, resource assistance and educational programs to families in need during times of crisis.”

Eight SAAC members delivered the unwrapped toys on Saturday, Dec. 8, helped set up breakfast, cleaned, wrapped toys, and helped families select toys.

Canned Food Drive

Last fall, fans, parents and student-athletes were encouraged to bring canned food items to a pair of soccer playoff games hosted by Azusa Pacific on Nov. 14 and 15. SAAC members then distributed the canned food to the St. Francis of Rome food bank, a local Catholic church in Azusa across the street from the Azusa Pacific soccer field.

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Azusa Pacific embraced NCAA Division II and Pacific West Conference fundraising efforts in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Azusa Pacific SAAC collected donations at soccer and football home games. Each Azusa Pacific team set a goal of $250 to help reach the $3000 goal, and so far almost $900 has been raised.

Community Engagement

The Azusa Pacific men’s basketball team completed demolition work and helped with painting projects for House 2 Home, a ministry of Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, Calif. House 2 Home reaches into the local community to help improve the living conditions of families in need.

The Azusa Pacific women’s water polo student-athletes gave away garage sale items, such as bikes, scooters, skateboards and toys, to kids at Slauson Park in Azusa, that serves as the Cougars’ water polo practice facility.

The Azusa Pacific Acrobatics & Tumbling team invited the city of Azusa Raiders youth cheerleaders to its home meet against Baylor to perform during halftime and enjoy an ice cream social with APU athletes after the meet. Several of the young cheerleaders were overheard saying, “This has been the best day of my life.”

Azusa Pacific women’s soccer student-athletes conducted “Fitness Fridays” for children at the Homework House in the city of Azusa. The Cougars helped teach the kids soccer skills of juggling, passing and dribbling. They put the kids through drills and games, and ended each day with a scrimmage.