CSL Daily

March 29, 2017

CSL, Special Olympics Partner on Big Feet Meet

The VCU Center for Sport Leadership, in collaboration with Special Olympics Virginia will host the 2017 Big Feet Meet for Henrico County Schools. This annual event, sponsored by Special Olympics Virginia, promotes the organization’s mission to create friendships, demonstrate courage and develop physical fitness for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The event will be held at Highland Springs High School on April 18th from 10:00-1:00 PM.

“This is the 4th year that Special Olympics Virginia has partnered with VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership to provide this extraordinary event for Henrico County high school students with and without disabilities,” said Aly Truesdale, James River Region Director for Special Olympics Virginia.  “We are excited to be hosted by Highland Springs High School this year, where we will offer a variety of track & field events for students in grades 9-12. There will also be an opening ceremony with lighting of the torch by our Henrico County law enforcement and Olympic Town area for additional games and activities. This event is important for students and school communities to encourage social inclusion, foster respect, and build lasting friendships among people of all ability levels.”

With over 400 high school students expected to participate, the Big Feet Meet will offer a range of track & field events. Participants will have be the opportunity to compete in field events such as; shot put, turbo javelin, softball throw and long jump, as well as track events 50 and 100 meter dash. The event will also feature an “Olympic Town” village that will offer a wide variety of outdoor activities and games.

Over 100 Highland High School students, as well as Center for Sport Leadership graduate students will be volunteering to assist with the event. As a part of Special Olympics: Project UNIFY, the event seeks to create a day of fun, collaboration and unification between students who may not spend time together in his/her classes. This inclusive model thus provides youth with and without intellectual disabilities the opportunity to train together, for friendships and foster respect for each other.




March 28, 2017

CSL to Participate in Global Day of Sport for Development

by Kara Bacile, CSL graduate student

The second SEED event of the season is drawing closer and the graduate students are busy putting the finishing touches on what is expected to be another positive event for the Richmond community! Unlike the rest of the SEED events planned for this semester, this event will be connected to many taking place across the globe on April 6th – each using sport for social change.

The inaugural International Day of Sport for Development and Peace event in Richmond will be held on April 6, 2017 at Woodville Elementary School located in Richmond’s East End. The fun is set to begin at 4:00pm. The event, which is sponsored by Crossridge Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, will involve approximately fifty Woodville Pre- K and Elementary students who participate in the YMCA after school program. CSL graduate student Abby Flower has been volunteering for the YMCA at Woodville Elementary since last semester. She has expressed her excitement for delivering this fun opportunity to the children at Woodville.

“Working with the children at Woodville Elementary has dramatically broadened my view of the Richmond community. I am thrilled to introduce this new event to the children at the YMCA at Woodville,” said Flower.

After consulting with the Woodville YMCA staff and learning about the group’s difficulties with constant conflict amongst the students, we decided the theme of this year’s event would be “We Play for Each Other” with the goals of empowering each child, building self confidence, and teaching valuable life skills through the medium of soccer. CSL graduate students will collaborate with professional soccer players from the Richmond Kickers to incorporate lessons of teamwork, sportsmanship, listening, and respect in the soccer drills and games the kids will be engaging in throughout the afternoon.

In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 6th as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace as a way of recognizing the power of sport to serve as a catalyst for development and peace across the world. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized the importance of using sport as a vehicle for social change and achievement of sustainable development and peace. He stated, “Sport promotes health and well-being.  It fosters tolerance, mutual understanding and peace.  It contributes to social inclusion and equality… It empowers, inspires and unites.” With this sentiment in mind, our graduate students designed an event that would use sport as a vehicle for social change in our own community.

The Richmond Kickers Pro Soccer Club is another partner who will engage the students and talk about the importance of team work and respect with the participants.



March 27, 2017

Richmond Police Chief Praises CSL Event

by Jordan Burke & Andy Hogue, CSL graduate students

You couldn’t have asked for a better day for the first annual Day of Play. The sun-filled canvas was accompanied by a symphony of laughter coming from the kids and Richmond Police officers creating memories they won’t soon forget.

As the kids from the Richmond community engaged in sports such as lacrosse, soccer, whiffle ball, kickball, and basketball, it was clear that being exposed to new activities was making an impact. That impact was made deeper by officers taking time out of their days to assist the kids in learning these new sports and broadening their horizons.

The intention of the Day of Play was to use sport as a vehicle for change by bringing police and inner city youth together in a fun, inviting and positive environment. The event showcased police officers in a way that the community doesn’t usually see them.  Police officers could be seen playing each of the sports alongside the kids, one officer even put his DJ skills to work. Volunteers from both the Richmond and VCU community lended a helping hand during the event. CSL students also attended and helped make the event possible.

“Thank you, VCU, for everything that you have done.”
– Alfred Durham, Chief of Police, RPD

“I’m always saying we can’t do it alone as a police department and obviously, it shows we are not doing it alone. We have VCU, all kinds of private organizations, non-profits, churches, and the kids are just having a blast. That’s what it’s about; kids should be kids,” said Alfred Durham, Richmond Police Department’s Chief of Police. “II challenge the neighborhoods and communities here in the city, they don’t have the opportunity to engage with kids their own age and others from outside their own neighborhoods. So, this has been a wonderful thing and we shouldn’t just stop here. It’s something we have to keep doing. Thank you, VCU, for everything that you have done.”

At the conclusion of the event, a check of $2,500 dollars was presented to PAL (Police Athletic League), a local organization with a similar mission to the Day of Play’s. The money, which was raised by the CSL students who planned the event, will be used by PAL to continue fostering relationships between police and youth in Richmond communities.

The impact of the Day of Play would not have been possible without the support of incredibly generous partners. Bojangles provided free meals to the participating kids and police. Geico, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, U-Turn Sports, the Richmond Kickers, Own Touch Soccer, and FutsalRVA also played a major role in ensuring each station was fun for the kids.

Thank you to WRIC Channel 8 for coming out and highlighting out event. 


March 24, 2017

First SEED event of the Year Launches Saturday

by Andrew Hogue, CSL graduate student

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a busy SEED event season for the Center for Sport Leadership graduate students. Our first event, the Day of Play, commences tomorrow at 10 a.m. and will go until approximately 2 p.m.

This inaugural event is the culmination of months of planning and our students are excited to put on a great event.

“It’s a great opportunity for the Center for Sport Leadership and Richmond City Police to work together to promote positive change in this community through sport,” said Maggie Brocklebank, volunteer coordinator for the Day of Play.

The event will feature stations that allow kids and police to positively interact with one another. Each station will involve a sport and an educational component.  Lacrosse, soccer, whiffle ball, basketball, and kickball will all be offered. Not only that, the Richmond Police will be bringing their mounted unit as well as a bouncy house and McGruff the Crime Dog.

Bojangles will be on-site to provide meals for participants, police and volunteers. Richmond Police Officer Farrhard El-Amin, will be spinning tunes as the event DJ. There will also be other vendors and activities available such as the SWAT unit and a forensic unit.

March 23, 2017

CSL Alumni Flood Social Media on Day of Giving

We were overwhelmed by the generosity and commitment our alumni and friends showed on our first Day of Giving on Wednesday. We exceed our goals and raised thousands of dollars for scholarship for incoming students.

The best part of the day was seeing our alumni take to social media. In addition to posting “I Gave” graphics and avatars on their accounts, many took the time to express their feelings towards the CSL and how it has impacted their life.



March 23, 2017

CSL Day of Giving A Huge Success

Early on, we knew it was going to be a special day. The staff at the Center for Sport Leadership had been planning it’s first Day of Giving for months. Still, the overwhelming generosity and commitment display by the alumni, friends and partners of the program was beyond our most optimistic expectations.

The first coordinated development campaign in the history of the program totaled 185 gifts and a total of $17,771.

“The #CSLnetwork showed its true beautiful colors yesterday,” executive director wrote on social media.

The original goal was to secure the 100 founding donors to the newly created CSL Annual Fund which will support scholarship for incoming students. Thanks to an incredible response by our alumni, we hit that goal by noon. So, we quickly huddle and decided to set our next goal at 200. As of Thursday morning, we are 15 gifts shy but some donations are still coming in and it may take a week to confirm the official totals.

“We will be reaching out to all of our donors individually over the next couple weeks but please know how deeply grateful we are for your support. It is humbling to know how much the CSL has impacted your lives and we’ll work hard each day to maintain a standard of excellence for our students and alumni,” said LeCrom

We will still accept online gifts, which are tax deductible.

According to the university’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, this was the first, one day, online line giving campaign conducted by any school, unit or center at VCU.