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.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has been offering hope and opportunity to local youth since 1954 by providing a safe place for kids to learn and grow through life-enhancing, after-school and summer programming with the support of highly trained professional staff and adult mentors. BGCGREATERNWI helps to build GREAT Futures by offering fun, engaging and impactful programs to 10,000 local youth, ages 5 to 18 throughout Lake and Porter counties in ten Clubs and eleven before-and-after school Kidstop school-based sites. Annual membership is only $35.00. For information on membership, volunteer opportunities, or to make a small, impactful donation, please contact your local Club by calling (219) 764-CLUB or visiting www.bgcgreaternwi.org. Great Futures Start HERE.
About Valparaiso University:
Valparaiso University is a comprehensive independent Lutheran university with more than 3,500 students on its campus located in Northwest Indiana, an hour from Chicago. Valpo is a community of purpose-driven, service-minded and ethical individuals who embrace the pursuit of truth with freedom, humility and compassion. Valpo has been identified as one of the top master’s-level institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report magazine for the past 30 years. Valparaiso University offers more than 110 undergraduate academic programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering and Nursing and Health Professions. Valpo also has a distinguished honors college, a Law School, and more than 40 degree and certificate programs in its Graduate School and Continuing Education. Valpo has been recognized for its commitment to outstanding teaching, preparing thoughtful leaders with strong cross-cultural skills and global awareness and dedication to serving others.