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Press Release for Tuesday, September 22, 2009

UNF Athletics partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida

Jeff Wuerth

Assistant Athletics Director

Media Relations

(904) 620-4027

 The University of North Florida Department of Athletics announced today that it has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida to promote its new Sports Buddies program.


In an effort to increase male recruitment, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida has introduced Sports Buddies, an activity-based mentoring program. Sports Buddies provides opportunities for adults to help build friendships and model good sportsmanship and provides the opportunity for children to experience sporting and recreational events that were once out of reach. This is a program for sports enthusiasts ready, willing, and able to volunteer as a mentor. Sports teach life skills, goal setting, character, and sportsmanship.


“Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida is delighted to enter into a partnership with The University of North Florida’s Athletic Department to promote our new Sports Buddies program,” said Steven L. Gilbert, COO Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida. “By allowing our matches the opportunity to attend various collegiate sporting events, the children we serve are exposed to a University campus, their horizons are broadened, and they become lifelong fans. We are appreciative of the University’s administration’s continued support of our community.”


“The University of North Florida is extremely happy to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida,” said Brea Kratzert, Director of Athletic Marketing, UNF. “Sports Buddies is a fantastic avenue to engage the youth through athletics and various on campus activities. UNF appreciates the opportunity to work with BBBS and looks forward to a successful year.”


A “match” – the volunteer and child – in the Sports Buddies program will have an opportunity to attend and participate in a wide variety sports. All matches utilizing tickets must be together at sporting events. Tickets cannot be exchanged or substituted. “Bigs” – volunteers – attending events without their “Littles” – children – risk membership in the program.


Sports Buddies matches will have access to the following:

• Tickets to sporting events during the year, including college levels

• Sports clinics and camps

• Access to community sporting opportunities

• Participatory activities such as flag football, swimming, basketball, bike riding trips, etc.

Sport Buddies matches will also be exposed to:

• BBBS’ regular match activities

• Health, fitness and wellness programming

• Character and leadership development


For those interested in being a Big Brother or Big Sister contact BBBSNEFL at 904-727-9797 or visit the web at