FIU athletes and Big Brothers Big Sisters: a winning combination

Student-athletes turned out on a recent Saturday to help the youth mentoring organization fight childhood obesity.

By Karen Cochrane

More than four dozen FIU student-athletes volunteered to help host Big Brothers Big Sisters’ recent flag football tournament at Modesto A. Maidique Campus. The event, in celebration of football season, was part of the mentoring organization’s BIG Fitness program, a three-pronged initiative aimed at reducing childhood obesity.

The FIU students helped organize the teams formed by more than 100 children and mentors and played with the children who do not have mentors yet.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami is an extraordinary organization to work with,” said Liz Augustin, assistant athletic director of student-athlete development and community relations. “Our student-athletes enjoyed interacting and playing with the ‘littles.’ Many of them have expressed interest in becoming mentors.”

For a look at some of the fun, check out the slide show below.

The BIG Fitness program is divided into three components: education, nutrition and fitness. Children, mentors and families learn how to incorporate the elements of a healthier lifestyle into their daily lives, learning about nutrition labels, participating in sports and acquiring the knowledge to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

“This event is one of the many ways FIU demonstrates its commitment to our nonprofit,” remarked Laura Fernandez, BIG fitness coordinator. “The Athletic Department has opened its doors to give children who otherwise wouldn’t have these opportunities the chance to learn about sports, the experience of being on a college campus and the opportunity to meet athletes.”

The following student-athletes participated in the Sept. 12 event:

Men’s Track:
Jestefer Annichiarico
Richie Bonilla

Men’s Cross Country/Track:
Alavaro (Sebastian) Castillo
Miguel Delgadillo
Christopher Gilbert
Ciprian Mejia
Steven Mitchell
Jason Oliver
Alberto Pelaez
Carter Robertson
Greg Wall

Women’s Track:
Kristen Blackwood
Gabriela Herrera

Women’s Cross Country/Track:
Tai’ Hsia Canady
Estefania Fierro
Catalina Ortiz

Women’s Basketball:
Marquita Adley
Cherisse Buddy
Elisa Carey
Liene Jekabsone
Erin Knight
Maja Krajacic
Asia Wilson

Kayla Derr
Marissa Fattore
Caroline Foster
Kelly Grace
Elly James
Cheslie Kidd
Jennifer Lee
Estefania Macchiavello
Mariangela Macchiavello
Nicola MacKenzie
Kristine Metka
Colleen Neubert
Erin Pavlick
Joanna Pomerantz
Yesica Rojas
Namiko Shibata
Danielle Snier
Kariann Stevens
Jamie Stinson
Vicnan Torres

Jennifer Alfonso
Jessica Alfonso