When a college football team heads out of town for a bowl game, it's common for a few players to visit a local hospital or other organization in support of the bowl's host city. But when word got around the Baylor football team that volunteers were needed to visit a San Antonio homeless shelter the week of the 2011 Alamo Bowl, team officials had to scramble to find enough transportation to accommodate everyone who was interested.
In mid-December, as the Bears were preparing for the Alamo Bowl, team representatives arranged to send a few student-athletes to visit Haven for Hope, a homeless shelter that provides housing, education and job training to some 1,500 men, women and children in the heart of San Antonio.
What started as just a handful of Baylor football players quickly grew to more than two dozen as news of the trip spread and student-athletes expressed their desire to come along. At Haven for Hope, the Bears signed autographs, handed out BU t-shirts and played touch football with many of the youth residents.
"My experience here was wonderful," said freshman linebacker Devante Davis. "Playing with these kids, signing posters and balls, is the least that we could do just to give them a little hope for the future."
"It's a lot of fun, especially with kids like this who look up to us," said sophomore linebacker Brody Trahan. "To get to be role models for them is a big deal to us."
In addition to the student-athletes' time, the football program also donated a table tennis set and other rec-room equipment to Haven for Hope -- items originally brought along to help entertain the players during down time throughout the week in San Antonio.
Joining the Baylor football representatives at the event were former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, BA '55; Alamo Bowl host committee members David, BBA '80, and Paula, BA '80, McGee; and one of Haven for Hope's major supporters, Harvey Najim. Both the McGees and Najim are the parents of Baylor graduates (William McGee, BBA '11, and Chrissy Najim Ray, BBA '92, respectively).