EUGENE Intercollegiate athletes at the University of Oregon have formed a non-profit student organization designed to create a centralized direction within the university’s campus community that can originate community service initiatives and projects in order to enhance the surrounding Eugene-Springfield area.

The Oregon Heroes program is the non-profit organization that will operate under the direction of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), with the executive members of SAAC serving as the board of directors of the O Heroes program.

Although the program is under the guidance of the university’s student-athletes, participation is open to all university students, faculty and staff, as well as the athletics department’s coaches and staff.

While the focus of the group is intended to center around the areas of health, education and service, the intent is to be able to give something back to the community that has been supportive of the university.

The advantage of the O Heroes program operating as a non-profit organization will allow it to donate financial assistance to various individuals and organizations throughout the area.

Student-athletes at Oregon have a long history of outstanding community service efforts, such as its Duckling program, Quackin’ Action and taking opportunities for coaches and student-athletes to become involved in reading to various elementary schools throughout Eugene and Springfield. But it is hoped that the creation of O Heroes will help increase the community awareness of the student-athletes efforts, as well as broaden the base of their support.

Local agencies who already have stepped forward in support of O Heroes include the United Way of Lane County, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley, the National Childhood Obesity Foundation, Kidsports, the Competition Not Conflict program, the university’s Holden Leadership Center, and local school districts.

For the previous five years, Oregon student-athletes have taken part in the Duckling program, which has raised money for the expenses incurred by families with a child battling a serious illness. This year’s Duckling is Kadence Gibson, a 21-month-old girl who was diagnosed with a pediatric brain tumor a year ago.

The first athletic event of the school year designated to raise awareness regarding Kadence’s challenges will by Saturday’s (Oct. 4) Bill Dellinger Invitational cross country meet held at the Springfield Country Club.

For more information regarding the O Heroes program, please contact James Harris, assistant athletics dir-ector for student-athlete development at the University of Oregon at 346-5580 or jharris@uoregon.edu, or visit www.oheroes.org.

 

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