By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily
Twenty-four children from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morgan County will get a kick from the generosity of teams competing at the NAIA women’s soccer championship this week.
The four semifinalist teams, Lee University, Concordia, Azusa Pacific and Point Loma Nazarene, donated 24 pairs of cleats to the organization as part of its Champions
of Character program — and as part of the foresightedness of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The bureau used the youth-sized cleats as table decorations for the tournament’s opening banquet with the intent that the teams could then give them to a local youth club, said Tami Reist, bureau president.
The Champions of Character program is a mainstay for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, she said, and teams look for ways to contribute to the community where they play.
Second gift this week
The cleats were the second gift to Big Brothers Big Sisters this week.
The Auburn University at Montgomery team met with the younger brothers and sisters Tuesday night to help them make Christmas ornaments for their big brothers and sisters.
“Even though they were defeated Sunday and could have gone home, they chose to stay and be part of the community,” said Leah Brown, Big Brothers Big Sisters director. “The kids loved them and the young women are great role models. Next year, we want to sponsor a team.”
In addition to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the NAIA teams met with students at Banks-Caddell Elementary School, played bingo with residents at Priceville Terrace, went bowling with Special Olympic participants and gave a soccer clinic to students at Decatur High Developmental.