Valparaiso University Athletics and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana jointly announced today that they entered into a partnership heading into the 2019-2020 academic year. The partnership will bring to life the “Young Crusaders Club” giving youth from the Region opportunities to visit Valparaiso University’s campus and attend Division I athletic events. The partnership also will provide opportunities for Valpo student-athletes to give back to the community through volunteer activities at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana.
“We are thrilled to be working with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana,” said Valparaiso University director of athletics Mark LaBarbera. “This partnership enables us to build connections with youth from the Region as they get the chance to experience Division I sporting events from a young age. We also strive for our student-athletes to be champions in the community, and this partnership gives us yet another opportunity for our student-athletes to be involved with our neighbors during their time at Valpo.”
Boys & Girls Clubs members will participate in men’s and women’s home basketball games, as well as select football games and soccer matches, as ball boys and girls. Valpo Athletics also will provide complimentary tickets to Boys & Girls Clubs for home basketball, volleyball and football events for use by Club members and their families.
Valpo Athletics teams also will conduct sports camps and clinics at Clubs in both Lake and Porter Counties. Additionally, Valpo Athletics and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana will partner together on additional events throughout the year in an effort for both the University and the Clubs to have greater community impact.
“We’ve had a long standing relationship with the Valpo basketball program(s) thanks to the generosity of our Nothing But Net Sponsors; Lakeside Wealth Management, Urschel Laboratories, Greiger’s Motors and Hodges & Davis. However, this expanded partnership formalizes greater opportunities for our Club members, most of Valpo Athletics and their student-athletes. From athletic clinics and in Club service projects, to tutoring and mentoring our Club members, these Valpo student-athletes give our kids a role model who they look up to. Now Club members, and their families, will be able to attend Valpo athletic events and see their role models playing Division I college sports. We want all of our Club youth to progress through grade levels on-time and graduate high school with a plan for their future. If this partnership inspires just one Club member to go to college, it will be considered a success,” states Ryan Smiley, president and CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana.