EDMONTON, AB – The Concordia University of Edmonton Department of Athletics & Recreation highlights Day 9 of the Thunder’s 11 Days of Giving campaign, as the student-athletes and teams have come together during this holiday season to give back to our community.
The Women’s Basketball team took a unique approach to this community initiative by partnering with Free Play for Kids (formerly Free Footie) to provide leadership opportunities for youth participants in the Free Play program. Free Play for Kids is a totally free after school club for 4,000 kids in need, and has a mission to “provide vulnerable kids with the opportunity to play in a safe, accessible, and inclusive environment at no cost to them or their families—because when kids are empowered through play, their families, their schools, and their communities are empowered as well.”. Founded in 2007 for the sport of soccer, the organization has grown to provide other sport opportunities for kids, including basketball, football, and hockey.
Over the course of a month, student-athletes from the women’s basketball team participated in virtual meetings and presentations for participants of the Free Play program. They offered advice, guidance, and mentorship perspectives on both basketball and life. Head Coach Robbie Valpreda was proud of his team’s involvement, stating “Working with Free Play and Brandon is a great opportunity for our women’s basketball program. We wanted to reach out and help provide any feedback, information or insight to these young athletes in the community about sport at the higher level and what it takes to reach those goals. Choosing Free Play was important for us so we can help mentor young junior leaders through guidance from our student-athletes. This was also important to me because growing up I was fortunate to have student-athletes give me advice and guidance at camps or presentations like these. Having these young women from our women’s basketball team be the mentors and role models for these junior leaders at Free Play is a great relationship that we hope to build on.”.
Third year guard, Madison Murdoch, spoke on the importance of being a role model to younger athletes, saying “I understand the important role that sports plays in a young person’s life and recognize the great opportunities and support that Free Play for Kids provides to the young athletes in our community. We still remember those individuals who helped us get to where we are in our own athletic careers, so we are so proud and grateful for the opportunity to now be those role models for the next generation of athletes.”. Teammate Brooke Froment added “It has been an amazing experience to support these kids through my life stories and be able to connect with them through basketball.”.
Additional information for Free Play for Kids can be found at https://freeplayforkids.com/.
More about the Thunder 11 Days of Giving Campaign:
With all of the struggles of the world in 2020, the student-athletes, coaches, and staff of the Thunder Department of Athletics & Recreation wanted to take this time of pause to get involved in our local community, and make it a better place right in time for the holidays. The 11 Days of Giving campaign challenged all of our student-athletes and teams to find a unique way to take advantage of this gift of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic and find a way to help those who need it most around us.