Despite Social Distancing During Global Pandemic, Temple Football Thrives in Community Outreach

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Football


Rich Burg


Part 2: The Hours




This past year was not easy for anyone. A global pandemic will do that to you.
 
By anyone’s standards, the Temple Owls underachieved on the field in 2020. There are no excuses. Hopefully it was an aberration, and the 2021 season proves that. Only time will tell.
 
However, the high standards that the football team is accustom to off the field, were not compromised. In the classroom, the football team achieved record-setting GPAs. The team also continued to make a difference in the local community with over 1,000 hours of community service.
 
It’s easy to see how the hours add up…
 
Temple Football has partnered on a few projects, with weekly participation. They are:
 
Team IMPACT: This national group tackles the emotional trauma and social isolation experienced by children facing serious and chronic illnesses by matching them with a college athletic team. Through its two-year therapeutic program that complements their medical treatments, children develop relationships and skills that help them complete the full circle of healing. Just prior to the pandemic, Temple teamed with Team IMPACT and local 14-year old Jaidyn. On average 25-30 guys would attend a Zoom call with Jaidyn and just hang out and bond. Eventually Jaidyn made his way to Edberg-Olson Hall and now hangs out with his big brothers. Tayvon Ruley, William Kwenkeu, Rory Bell, and Michael Niese have formed some of the strongest bonds thus far.
 
Fotterall Square Park Clean-Up: Located at 11th and York and including the surrounding area. Groups of Owls, along with the Parks and Recreation Department, clean up the park, basketball courts, and jungle gyms for kids to play and benches for adults to sit.
 
Camden Promise Academy: Prior to COVID-19, Temple was sending 7-12 players each Friday to attend gym class and mentor kindergarten through fourth grade. Once the pandemic hit, the format changed but the fun didn’t as the program extended the amount of days/times and Temple players engaged in Zoom calls with the youngsters. A number of players were involved but Evan Boozer took it to another level when he participated while in quarantine.
 
There have been annual events that Temple Football has been a part of. They are:
 
MLK Day of Service: Over three dozen football players joined Temple Athletics and spent the day cleaning and repainting local churches.
 
Global Day of Service: It’s important to take care of your neighbors and the Owls took this day to clean up of Broad and Diamond Streets.
 
Church of the Open Door: Located in Fort Washington and run by former Owls’ kicker Don Bitterlich, a group of Owls led by Adam Klein and Amir Tyler attended one of their programs and mentored a group of young members.
 
Hoot-A-Thon:  Created to raise awareness and funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Hoot-A-Thon connects the students at Temple University to the children at CHOP. The event unites the campus as a whole in a celebration of the achievements of the organization. Held at the SAC, Temple Football players participate and help run the activities.
 
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Help the kids through their exercises and provide recreational therapy.
 
Dunbar and Duckery Schools: Located along Temple’s campus, Temple’s athletes mentor these students by reading books and also assemble sports equipment.
 
Temple Police: Temple Football has partnered with the campus police for many trash clean-ups. On July 25, the team and campus police will host a Community BBQ at Edberg-Olson Hall to feed the neighbors.
 
Temple Football Blood Drive: Orchestrated by the Leadership Council, the team worked with the Red Cross to host a blood drive at the SAC.
 
In addition, due to COVID-19, Temple, like many universities, were forced to play nearly all of its varsity sports in the spring of 2021. With the increased schedule and with fewer student workers on campus, Temple Football was asked to volunteer at many of the other varsity sports.
 
Overall, at close to 25-30 events on campus in the spring, groups of football players assisted in the operation of gymnastic meets, soccer games, volleyball matches, etc. While dozens of players helped, it seemed like Evan Boozer, Joe Hooper, Adam Klein, Re-al Mitchell, and Kobe Wilson were at every event.
 
“It’s important for us to give back to fellow student-athletes,” said Boozer. “I can’t speak about other universities, but we happen to be close with many of the other student-athletes here at Temple. Most of us would have attended their games anyway but the fact that we were able to help made it even better.”
 





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