Nov. 22, 2012
MADISON, Wis. — UW football refers to it as “putting smiles on kid’s faces.” UW basketball says it’s “for the kids.” Regardless of how they refer to it, Badger student-athletes are heavily involved in ‘putting smiles on kid’s faces’ by volunteering in the Madison community.
Since September, 2012, UW student-athletes have completed 1,149 hours of volunteering at over 45 events. Leading the effort is football players David Gilbert and Warren Herring, wrestler Brad Nardick, volleyball player Alexis Mitchell and women’s swimmer Hannah Ross.
On Thanksgiving, these leaders gave pause to give thanks for the lessons they have learned during the hours they have spent in the community.
What they are thankful for, in their own words:
Brad Nardick, senior, UW Wrestling
“I’m really thankful to be a part of a team that has the same values as I do when it comes to giving back to the community. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who make it a priority in their lives to help anyone who needs it—guys like Scott Liegel, Connor Medbury, Tom Kelliher and Jackson Hein. When it comes to doing things like visiting the American Family Children’s Hospital, everyone is on-board and enthusiastic about trying to have an impact. I’m most thankful to be able to say that I’m part of a team that is not only made up of talented athletes, but also great men.”
Hannah Ross, senior, UW Swimming
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend time with the children in the community. They always make me smile and laugh!”
David Gilbert, red-shirt junior, UW Football
“I’m thankful for the opportunity football has provided to impact other people. It’s an honor to be able to make people smile just by showing up and being myself.”
One favorite activity among the student-athletes is visiting the American Family Children’s Hospital. Eight UW athletic teams have visited the hospital since September 2012:
Alexis Mitchell, senior, UW Volleyball
“I realized after visiting the American Family Children’s Hospital how fortunate we are to not only be Division I athletes, but to be healthy. The kids were so happy to see us that it was an experience you don’t get every day. Giving back to the community gives so much to us, it is a great feeling.”
Warren Herring, red-shirt sophomore, UW Football
“I’m thankful for getting the opportunity to visit the Badger fans at the Children’s Hospital. Just making them happy just by showing up makes me happy. They are my inspiration to keep working hard and pushing myself everyday through adversity. They are a tough group!”
There was one recurrent theme in what the student-athletes expressed they were thankful for—the support of Badger fans.
“Community service is our way of thanking the community for their support," Gilbert said. "We wouldn’t be here without it.”
Happy Thanksgiving, Badgers!
To read more about the UW Athletics Community Service activities head to Badgers Give Back on the uwbadgers.com.