Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ways to Utilize Peer Athletes II

Other Real Life Examples of Athletes' Making a Difference

Southwestern Oklahoma University Head Football Coach Dan Coccanouer has had his football staff and team go to Burcham Elementary School's Early Bird Readers Program at 7:30 a.m.  Coccannouer is an example of positive leadership and dedication to helping the very young read. 

Every coach can use his or her athletes to make a difference whether he or she is actually present or not. 

Excerpts about the University of Oklahoma Men's Gymnastics Team 


Team members assigned to a teacher to make weekly visits to tutor and mentor

Team hosts a school night at a home meet (or game); younger peers serve as personnel

Team performs at a school assembly


April 24, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. - The Oklahoma men's gymnastics team was honored Friday, April 24, by United Way and Junior League of Norman. Cleveland Elementary nominated the men’s gymnastics team for a Volunteer of the Year award for its work at Norman's Cleveland Elementary School.
The Sooners have joined the Norman school in a "Partners in Education" program developed by Cleveland music teacher Regina Bell and OU head coach Mark Williams, a former English teacher.  Members of the men's gymnastics team are assigned to a teacher and make weekly visits to their classroom throughout the year to tutor and mentor the students.

OU hosts an annual "Cleveland Elementary Night" at a home gymnastics meet.  This season the Sooners welcome Cleveland students, teachers and parents for a home meet each year at the Howard McCasland Field House. Students had the opportunity to serve as junior judges, score flashers, march-in leaders, junior PA announcer and award presenters at the meet.

Days before the "Cleveland Elementary Night" competition, the team performed a demonstration at a school assembly, showing off their skills on floor exercise, parallel bars, vault and pommel horse. 

Ret. 6-21-16


Role modeling
Encouraging academics and athletics


Sept. 30, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team continued its commitment to the Norman community Thursday by volunteering at Cleveland Elementary’s Jog-a-Thon fundraiser.

Members of the OU squad helped encourage the students throughout the event by cheering from the sidelines and running laps alongside them. The Jog-a-Thon, Cleveland Elementary’ s only fundraiser of the school year, helps earn money for the school’s Parent Teacher Association and is used for equipment, teacher support, building needs, technology and many other key costs of education.
In addition to Thursday’s Jog-a-Thon, many of the Sooner gymnasts volunteer their time throughout their week tutoring students at the school, a service that has blessed both the school and the gymnasts.
OU senior Patrick Piscitelli has been volunteering at Cleveland Elementary and is one of the many grateful gymnasts that spend time at the school.

“It is a great opportunity to get involved and give back to the community,” said Piscitelli. “It allows my team and myself to positively influence kids in academics and athletics. It is a rewarding feeling to know that we can help these children as they grow and develop.”
Ret. 6-21-16

By the way, the University of Oklahoma's Men's Gymnastics program won its ninth NCAA Championship in 2015.

We will update this post with other examples occasionally, but the message is that student athletes can make a difference in their communities by mentoring, tutoring, and/or engaging with younger students.

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