The Dinos on various sports teams are more than just athletes. Yes, they do provide us with unsurpassed entertainment as they throttle their Canada West competition. Yes, their sweat does steadily drip onto the hardwood of the Jack Simpson Gymnasium, the green blades of grass of the West Varsity Soccer Pitch, the turf of McMahon Stadium and into the pool. But, while they will always be Dinos at heart, some have extraordinarily large hearts.
About eight years ago, the Athletes Mentoring Program started with the Dinos men's volleyball team. It now involves 26 athletes from the men's and women's volleyball and basketball teams as well as athletes from the SAIT Trojans and Mount Royal College Cougars.
Each athlete involved in the program is paired with a disadvantaged child who has academic or social problems. Once a week, these children have the opportunity to watch part of their mentor's practice, followed by some one-on-one time.
The experience is beneficial for the children and athletes alike.
Along with checking out some high-calibre athletics, the children get someone to look up to. They can learn what it took to become a Dinos athlete and try to emulate their mentor's success. Their time with the athletes helps the children learn how to build friendships.
For the athlete mentors, they are given the chance to give something back to the community. Plus, there is a certain sense of accomplishment from seeing the smiling face of a child.
As the Athletes Mentoring Program grows over the years, remember the Dinos you're watching are more than just athletes.