Buckeye fans were in high spirit at Buckeyes Care Day held at French Field House last Saturday. Plenty of pizza, fun activities and laughter filled the event to the brim.
Last Saturday was a chance for the Buckeyes to give back with the third-annual Buckeyes Care Day, held by The Ohio State Department of Athletics in partnership with Donatos, AEP, Kroger, WBNS, 10TV and 97.1 The Fan before the home football game against Tulsa. A brief program was held to launch the event, and additional mentions and recognitions took place during the Buckeyes' waterlogged win over the Golden Hurricane.
"Thank you all for being here on this special day," said Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director Gene Smith. "We recognize that we are blessed to be in the great city of Columbus. We need to ensure that we continue to do everything in our power for the young people in our community to have a phenomenal experience at The Ohio State University."
Twelve varsity Ohio State programs participated in a meet and greet with local youth, engaging them with sport activities and inflatable bounce houses. Twenty-five community organizations making an impact in the state of Ohio also were invited to the event. Participants enjoyed pizza and salad for lunch, outfitted in Buckeyes Care t-shirts and refreshed with sodas to beat the muggy heat outside.
Buckeyes Care Day gives young people the opportunity to experience campus. The celebration allows kids to interact with student-athletes and enjoy game day activities like the Buckeye Walk, Fan Fest, Skull Session and an Ohio State football game. The pillars of the program include fitness, wellness, education and public service, with a special focus on children and families.
The program kicked off with words from Dom Tiberi, 10TV's sports anchor. After a traditional "O-H...I-O" cheer together, Tiberi talked with event sponsors and shared messages with the crowd.
"We can never pay back, we can only pay forward," Tiberi said.
The Ohio State men's swimming team and men's volleyball team encouraged kids as they ran the track at French Field House, while the women's gymnastics team and the men's and women's diving team took turns doing flips. Brutus showed off his charming personality with the kids, posing for pictures and challenging them in sport contests.
"The community has given us so much so it's nice to be able to give back," said Ohio State sophomore men's diver Christo Law. "To see all these kids here is really exciting to me. Hopefully we'll get them motivated to get into their own sport."
Being involved in Buckeyes Care Day also meant a lot to women's gymnastics junior Erin Malone.
"Buckeyes Care brings Buckeye Nation together and provides for everyone," Malone said. "It's really important to bring the whole community together as one."
The day ended with a group photo, stretched end to end with smiles at French Field House.
A website, OhioStateBuckeyes.com/BuckeyesCare, and #BuckeyesCare have been established to share uplifting experiences and stories from the community.
"Paying it forward is so important to our organization. We have a commitment to give back. Helping those who need help is one of our core values. It's in our corporate culture. In our company, it goes back for 80 years to give back in the communities we're living in."
Dale Heydlauff, AEP Foundation President
"It is absolutely about the kids. It's a true pleasure to be a partner with Buckeyes Care and to give these kids a chance to experience an Ohio State Football game. At Kroger, our commitment to the community goes beyond just donating. It's about serving the communities where our customers and associates work and live and Buckeyes Care really is a true partner in that sense in getting students out to serve their communities."
Deb Thompson, Kroger
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio
• United Negro College Fund
• Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and Columbus
• Rebuilding Together
• St. Stephen's Community House
• Dave Thomas Foundation.
• South Side Learning & Development Center
• Big Brother Big Sisters of Mansfield
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens
• The Well at Sunnyside
• Nationwide Children's Hospital
• 2nd & Seven
• The Buckeye Ranch
• Big Brothers and Big Sisters
• Columbus Urban League
• Make A Wish
• Lutheran Social Services
• St. Vincent's Family Center
• USO of Central and Southern Ohio
• A Kid Again
• Flying Horse Farms
• Special Olympics
• Ronald McDonald House
• Mid-Ohio Food Bank
• American Red Cross
• Down Syndrome Association
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