Athletics Leads the WAC in Holiday Giving

Athletics Leads the WAC in Holiday GivingThe Western Athletic Conference Student Athlete Advisory Committee (WAC SAAC), which is comprised of two student-athletes from each of the eight WAC member institutions, participated in a holiday toy drive that raised $13,002 as part of the WAC SAAC Gives Back initiative.

The SAACs at all eight WAC institutions collected toys and/or raised funds that were used to buy toys which were then donated to the charity of each institution's choosing. Among the organizations that benefitted from the toy drive were the Boys and Girls Club, Toys for Tots, Canyon Cares Christmas, Hope Village, Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois and Circle Ministries.

Ultimately, the institution contributing the most was Chicago State, and the Cougars will be recognized during the WAC Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas in March.

"Everyone did a wonderful job this year with the holiday toy drive," said Phyllon Jackson, Academic Coordinator and Chicago State SAAC co-advisor. "I am the co-advisor for SAAC, but our athletic director, Dr. (Denisha) Hendricks, rallied the troops. It was not only SAAC, but the community paying it forward. Winning the toy drive is a result of those collaborative efforts."
 
The toy drive's goal is to raise donations, but more importantly help out the families around these important holiday times. It also helps enhance the overall student-athlete experience, as there is so much that can be taken for granted when school and athletics are the only thing on the athletes' minds.

"It is very important to help others if and when you have the ability to do so," Chicago State SAAC President Marnie Perez Ochoa said. "There is truly no sweeter feeling than what I am feeling now. So many children will be impacted by this toy drive and I am just so happy and thankful that we were able to participate."