ORLANDO – Gallaudet University Sports Information Director Sam Atkinson recently returned from Orlando, the site of the 2013 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Convention, where he successfully planned a 5K fun run/walk, community service project and donation drive that benefitted the Coalition for the Homeless, the largest organization that serves the homeless and needy in Central Florida.
Atkinson, the national chair of CoSIDA’s Goodwill and Wellness Committee for the past six years, represented Gallaudet at the 5K fun run/walk where his committee members helped with registration and running the event. Over 90 participants registered and 75 posted for the early 6 a.m. start time on June 13. The third consecutive CoSIDA 5K fun run/walk raised over $1,100 for the Coalition for the Homeless as each runner paid an entry fee.
For the fourth time in five years, the CoSIDA Goodwill and Wellness Committee organized and ran a community service project during the convention. A record 31 people volunteered to help at a “Water Day” play day on June 15 at the Women’s Residential and Counseling Center (WRCC) in downtown Orlando. The WRCC is part of the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and is a facility for single mothers who are homeless and/or the victims of domestic violence. Volunteers manned water slides, a bounce house, made water balloons, played with the children and passed out pizza, drinks and popsicles during the three-hour service project. The volunteers also helped to clean up the trash in the common area outside where the kids' playgrounds are located so the children would have a clean and safe play area.
The Goodwill and Wellness Committee collected clothing donations, that were donated to the local charity, for a fourth straight year during the convention’s registration day. This was the first CoSIDA convention that was held in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) convention.
Under the leadership of Atkinson and Goodwill and Wellness Committee Vice-Chair Ryan Klinkner (St. John’s Minn.) the CoSIDA Goodwill and Wellness Committee has raised $4,770, donated over 1,100 items, had 284 runners and walkers participate and performed 230 community service hours in five years.
“It is a honor to lead a committee that is effective and committed in promoting health and philanthropy on a national stage and in their own communities. I am proud to represent Gallaudet University when I have the chance to go out in various communities in an effort to give back and make a difference,” said Atkinson. “Our committee is excited and already preparing for the 2014 CoSIDA Convention back in Orlando. We look forward to working with the new CoSIDA Board of Directors and NACDA to increase our reach and impact we can have during the convention.”
CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) was founded in 1957 and currently is a 2,900-plus member national organization comprised of the sports public relations, communications and information professionals throughout all levels of collegiate athletics in the United States and Canada. The 2012-13 academic year marked the 62nd year of the organization. The association is designed to help the athletic media relations and communications professionals at all levels. It is the desire of the members to have the profession take its rightful place on the decision-making levels of college athletics. For more information please visit www.cosida.com.
About Coalition for the Homeless
Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida was created in 1987 by a group of concerned citizens who noted a growing problem of homelessness in the community. Its mission is to transform the lives of homeless men, women and children by providing crucial services to end their crisis of homelessness. The Coalition is able to help over 750 people each day, including men, women and children. As one of the few emergency shelters that accept intact families in Central Florida, the organization helps a large number of families in need of shelter and support. On any given night, the Coalition provides services to over 250 children, with a current average age of eight years old. Last year, the Coalition served more than 300,000 meals.
The Coalition’s goal is to return its residents to self-sufficiency through counseling, job training and educational programs. While its clients work to reestablish productive lives, the Coalition provides transitional housing and daycare for their children until they are ready to move back into the community. More information about the Coalition for the Homeless can be found on its website – www.centralfloridahomeless.org.