March 16, 2010

UCSB and Soles4Souls Proved to be a Great Success

March 16, 2010

The UC Santa Barbara men's and women's basketball programs helped gather nearly 700 shoes at two home games - and by setting up a bin in the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus - in a recent campaign with Soles4Souls Inc. that helped the earthquake victims in Haiti receive footwear. This was part of the Gauchos Give community outreach program.

The effort, organized by women's assistant basketball coach Jaida Williams, helped bring awareness to the Soles4Souls campaign to help the less fortunate. The shoes, collected over a two week span, were recently sent by UCSB Athletics to help the earthquake victims in Haiti.

Every 23 seconds, Soles4Souls Inc. gives away another pair of shoes to someone in need. The shoe charity has earned glowing endorsements from Hollywood stars and professional athletes, but the people who truly make the non-profit organization effective are those who partner with Soles4Souls in its mission of changing the world one pair at a time.

"This was for a great cause and I'm so happy to have the Gaucho fans and Santa Barbara community help us out with this effort," Williams said. "The response and the amount of footwear we collected was amazing."

With the arrival of Mark Massari as Athletics Director, UCSB Athletics launched the Gauchos Give community outreach initiative for all 450 athletes and 20 sports. Gaucho athletes give back to their community through free clinics, helping families during the holidays, providing financial and emotional support during tragedies, and touching the lives of youth groups.

Last year UCSB Athletics unveiled the BE Great initiative. BE Great is dedicated to maximizing leadership ability, strong on-campus interaction, and general welfare for all 450 student-athletes and Intercollegiate Athletics staff at UC Santa Barbara. BE Great also focuses on personal and career development, diversity, and social awareness, along with ensuring academic success. UCSB has a 92% student-athlete graduation rate.