March 13, 2014

SHU Football Hosts Clinic with RISE Transition Program

FAIRFIELD, Conn – For the second consecutive year, the Sacred Heart University football team took some time off from their Spring schedule to spend an afternoon with the students of the RISE (Reaching Independence through Supported Education) Transition Program. Assistant Coach Jim Jeffers helped put together the event and had about 30 SHU football players helping out with the informal football clinic.

"Just as it was last year, it was such a great experience for our students" stated Jodi Lovegrove, special education teacher with the RISE Program, and also SHU Masters of Art Teaching alum ('99). "We are thankful for the partnership we've forged with the Sacred Heart University football team and hope it stays in place for years to come."

To start the afternoon, the players and students met in the Linda E. McMahon Commons for lunch and some ice breaking activities. After lunch, everyone came over to the Pitt Center and each student was equipped with a SHU jersey to wear for the duration of the event. The athletes started the clinic off by leading the students through a quick dynamic warm-up. Next up, the students had the opportunity to participate in a number of athlete-led stations that focused on agility and football-related skills such as catching, throwing, tackling, and kicking. The clinic went on for about an hour, as there was a lot of energy from both the RISE students and the players that participated. The students were highly engaged in the activities and everyone seemed to have a great time. At the conclusion of the clinic each student received a Sacred Heart Football T-Shirt that commemorated this year's Northeast Conference championship season.

"I think the clinic went extremely well," junior defensive back Kyle Church (San Francisco, CA) said. "Spending time and giving back to the community is something we as a team take very seriously. I hope that we can make this an annual event."

The Rise Program aims to build, social, recreational, vocational, and life skills of its students. The Program runs Monday through Friday each week during the school year on the Sacred Heart campus and sets up as a traditional school day.  RISE utilizes a peer buddy program for their students and SHU students to meet as Lunch Buddies and Fitness Buddies on campus. The fitness buddy component is one of the ways that the program aims to integrate recreational skills into the student's everyday lives.