Riverside, CA - Just prior to their Christmas holiday break, the Golden Eagles men's basketball team joined with the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services to throw a holiday party for some of the local youth the department work with on a daily basis.
Invitees and their guests arrived at the La Sierra University Alumni center where they enjoyed conversation, Christmas carols and more. The evening began with a welcome from Lisa Walcker, Assistant Regional Manager for DPSS. Senior and team captain Joshua Zonker welcomed the group on behalf of the men's basketball program and head coach Derek Robbins provided opening prayer.
The guests enjoyed a nice meal prior to activities such as decorating cookies, making Christmas cards, including some Christmas karaoke. The evening was capped off by a visit from Santa and one of his elves.
It was an enjoyable evening had by all and it was also a great opportunity for the men's basketball team to give back to their community. "The event was a huge success and all of the young adults had a great time," commented Melissa Duffield, a DPSS administrative analyst and one of the event's coordinators. "The event showed [the youth] that there is a community of people that care and are there to support them as they begin their life into adulthood."
"It was awesome to see La Sierra University student-athletes being a part of this outreach event," stated La Sierra University athletic director Javier Krumm. "Every year coach Robbins and the men's basketball team participates in some type of activity with the department of Child Protective Services, and every year they make us shine. We are proud of them."
All participants were rewarded in their experience. "The La Sierra University men's basketball program played a significant role in the success of the night," added Duffield. "They made the night special and we truly appreciated them participating in the event." The Golden Eagles have and will continue to team up with the DPSS to serve as mentors for some of the local youth.
"Our goal, as a team, is to share our value of family and togetherness with everyone we come in contact with," said Derrick Robbins, head men's basketball coach at La Sierra University. "Our men's program was truly excited for the opportunity to spend time with foster youth during the holiday season. We understand that the opportunity we have been given is a blessing, so we give back to others."