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Augustana athletes spearhead Vikes for Tykes

Augustana athletes spearhead Vikes for Tykes

Augustana athletes hope to collect 750 items in second year of toy drive

After successfully collecting over 450 toys at various games during the first Vikes for Tykes toy drive last year, this November, student-athletes are aiming to gather 750 toys with the help of the Augustana community.

The goal of the toy drive is to give back to the community while creating a sense of unity within the Augustana campus and build on the university’s reputation in Camrose. Each Augustana athlete, coach, and trainer is encouraged to donate at least one toy to the drive.

Augustana athletes Brett Ponich and Nicole Brockman are co-founders of this student spearheaded initiative and hope to see another successful year.

In 2016, the toys collected were distributed to many children through Kinette Club of Camrose Silent Santa program and the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. A group of Augustana athletes ran a “Hockey Day in Canada” celebration at the hospital, where patients of the Children’s Hospital were able to select a few toys of their choosing, as well as take part in numerous games and activities led by the athletes.

“Having previously played hockey in the WHL and professionally after that, I have taken part and thoroughly enjoyed many “teddy bear toss” games and the subsequent children’s hospital visits where we distributed the teddy bears to patients,” said Brett Ponich, Vikings hockey player and second-year kinesiology student.

Ponich said that last year after retiring from hockey, he found himself missing the community service aspects of the sport. “Vikes for Tykes provides this opportunity for the athletes and student body of the Augustana.”

Brockman, Vikings volleyball player and fourth-year kinesiology student, said that the organization is a great example of how giving a little can make an impact. “By each athlete, student, faculty member, or fan donating just one toy, we can put a smile on hundreds of children’s faces,” said Brockman.

“It provides the athletes and students with an avenue to give back to the community in a way that benefits the children receiving toys, as well as the bridges the gap between Augustana students and the Camrose community.”

Students, community members, and faculty are invited to drop off toy donations at any of the following games:

Saturday, Nov. 18:

  • Home Volleyball at 6 and 8 p.m. at the Augustana gymnasium
  • Home Hockey at 6 p.m. at the Encana arena

Friday, Nov. 24:

  • Home Volleyball at 6 and 8 p.m. at the Augustana gymnasium
  • Home Hockey at 7:30 p.m. at the Encana arena

Saturday, Nov. 25:

  • Home Basketball at 6 and 8 p.m. at the Augustana gymnasium

Friday, Dec. 1:

  • Home Basketball at 6 and 8 p.m. at the Augustana gymnasium

Saturday, Dec. 2

  • Home Volleyball at 6 and 8 p.m. at the Augustana gymnasium

Drop boxes can be found at the admission table at the games. Drop boxes will also be set up in the Augustana library for students, faculty, and community members to donate. Vikes for Tykes is unable to accept used toys as partner organizations do not accept them.

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