Elite boxing team lunches with community leaders
February 6, 2009
FORT CARSON, Colo. Aca,!" Showing that athletes are concerned with more than just sports, the World Class Athlete Program boxing team had lunch with members of the Kiwanis International Club of Colorado Springs in hopes that the team can help with some of the club's outreach programs.
The meeting took place over lunch in Colorado Springs Jan. 29 and the boxing team, its commander and first sergeant and members of the Kiwanis club mixed, mingled, laughed and talked about how the team could play a role in helping enhance many of the club's programs.
Chuck Ziegler said the Kiwanis organization is in more than 70 countries where over 60 different languages are spoken, which speaks to the kind of outreach the group has. He said the club's goals are to improve the world for young children.
"The good news is we have a lot of groups that are out working to improve the lives of young children. We also have high school children who are out doing the same thing. Kiwanis is a great organization for anyone who wants to do community service," Ziegler said.
Basheer Abdullah, WCAP head boxing coach and retired staff sergeant, said the meeting was a great way for his team to do something it enjoys doing- reaching back to the community to help make Colorado Springs a better place for everyone. He said the group has a variety of experiences and backgrounds and wants to share its military and civilian experiences in hopes that to have a positive impact on young people. He said his Soldier-athletes were eager to meet with the Kiwanis members and see what they could do to help.
"We were thankful that the Kiwanis invited us to come down to its luncheon to meet the community leaders and allow us to share some of our stories about being Soldiers and athletes. We wanted to let the Kiwanis club know that the program is designed to allow Soldier athletes to compete at the Olympic level and how the program allows the athletes to represent the United States in sports just as the Soldier athletes do in the military," Abdullah said.
Abdullah added that the lunch was not just a chance for the Soldiers to eat a meal in Colorado Springs, but a chance for the group to make one of its goals a reality, getting involved in community affairs.
"We have been talking about having an opportunity like this to come out and let the civilian community know what our program is about and how we can help our community. We want to help support youth sports in our area in any we can and we are very happy to have the opportunity. We all know that youth programs contribute a lot to a community and we know that these programs can help young people develop their social skills. Our young Soldiers travel the country not just to fight, but to also take part in the Army's Total Army Involvement and Recruiting program. They go out to high schools and youth activities and talk about the Army and how the Army has provided opportunities for them as Soldiers and athletes," Abdullah said.