News Release

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Miami student-athletes care about community

12/15/2009

Miami softball team prepares to deliver gifts to area families.
As Miami University students prepared for their final exams, student-athletes also provided gifts to help families in Butler County communities.

Through a new program, Bring Joy to a Child, Miami's intercollegiate athletic teams were matched with families in the Talawanda School District who could use some help this holiday season. Boxes of toys and gifts were stacked up in the office of Lauren Cavallaro, director of CHAMPS/LifeSkills and adviser to RedHawk Council, a leadership advisory group in intercollegiate athletics (ICA).

The student-athletes, coaches and athletic administrators personally bought clothes, special parent items and honored requests from children in 12 families. They then wrapped and delivered the gift packages to parents.

“One of our student athletes, Alicia Hogl, who plays softball, brought this idea from her high school, and the teams liked it immediately,” said Cavallaro.

For several years, Miami student-athletes have visited regional elementary schools to promote reading through the Championship Reading Program. This year from October through mid-December, Miami student-athletes read to nearly 10,000 elementary students at 20 schools. Each team made at least one school visit, talking about their favorite books, promoting the importance of reading and education and answering children’s questions.

School coordinators receive e-mailed newsletter updates that emphasize reading and include program updates. The classroom with the highest average hours read and the winning classroom per school are recognized with awards from athletic sponsors Pepsi and Richards Pizza. Individual winners and participating schools will be recognized at a Miami men’s basketball game at 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 23.

Some 1,800 students attended a Miami women’s Class at the Court basketball game Dec. 9, and received booklets on mathematics, writing, nutrition and teamwork. Go online here and click on a video interview of coach Maria Fantanarosa about the students’ visit.



The purpose of the CHAMPS (Challenging Athletes' Minds for Personal Success) program is to increase student-athletes' opportunities for success in life beyond sport. CHAMPS seeks a commitment to excellence in five areas:
• Academic
• Athletic
• Personal Development
• Career Development
• Community Service

Just three weeks ago, the NCAA announced its college graduation rates, and Miami’s student-athletes’ graduation rate of 82 percent outpaced the national rate by 18 percent and is the highest among Ohio public universities. Miami student-athletes even beat the general Miami population by 1 percent.

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Gifts ready to spread Christmas cheer to area families.

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