What the University of Central Arkansas Bears and Sugar Bears do off the field is just as important to them as what they accomplish on the field.
Almost 400 student-athletes at UCA participate in numerous community service projects throughout the year. In fact, the UCA student-athletes turned in 2,142 total hours of service to the community during the 2014-2015 academic year.
“Community service is an important part of the whole student-athlete experience at UCA,” said Natalie Shock, assistant athletic director. “Our goal is to teach our student-athletes more than just how to be successful on the field or the court when they come to UCA. We want them to receive a well-rounded and quality education and that certainly includes service to others.”
The projects range from Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit organization that helps outfit impoverished children locally and around the world with shoes, to reading programs at local elementary schools, tornado disaster relief, hospital visitations and Operation Christmas Child. The teams also participate in the Pine Street Backpack Program each year prior to the beginning of school.
All 17 of UCA’s sports teams participate in at least one type of community service, and each program supports its own particular niche program. The total of UCA’s community service hours was the fourth-most recorded among the 13 Southland Conference institutions.
The UCA student-athletes also participated in Shoes For Hope, another shoe giveaway, during the fall of 2015 in conjunction with the UCA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The 2014 event, Samaritan’s Feet, dispersed 300 pairs of shoes to those in need in Faulkner County.