Dec. 19, 2013
By: Matt Burkholder
LAS VEGAS - Select members from the Fresno State football team took a timeout from the everyday football grind on Thursday to give back to the Las Vegas community by taking part in two charitable community service events set up by the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.
A group of players, each from Fresno State and USC visited Opportunity Village, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1954 that serves people in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual disabilities, to enhance their lives and the lives of the families who love them.
"I'm really surprised to see what all they do for the people here," tight end Riley Barnes said. "This is really great for me to experience, and to meet all these nice people."
The Bulldogs visited one of four campuses in the greater Las Vegas area that serves the community. The organization has approximately 300 disabled workers at each campus, and has a worker to staff ratio of 2 to 1.
The staff at Opportunity Village is dedicated to helping people with severe intellectual and related disabilities become the very best they can be. Through vocational training, community employment, day services, advocacy, arts and social recreation, citizens with severe disabilities are able to find new friends, realize future career paths, seek independence and community integration and unleash creative passions.
"Opportunity Village is an awesome thing," said long-snapper Dylan Detwiler. "We're out here having a good time and it's good to see everyone smiling and making people happy by signing autographs, glad to be here."
Later in the day staffers and five players from both Fresno State and USC assisted the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation in providing 400 disadvantaged children from the Las Vegas area with much-needed new shoes, socks and other supplies at CP Squires Elementary School.
"It's definitely a blessing being able to see kids smile by giving them something as simple as shoes and getting a signature on a poster," said defensive back Sean Alston. "It gives you a good feeling you can give back to the community."
Kids got sized and then selected their new pair of shoes from the Goodie Two Shoes semi-truck with the help from the Bulldogs and Trojans.
"A lot of these kids just see these guys on TV, and to see them up close and personal, it's such a big deal to them," said Goodie Two Shoes Co-Founder and CEO Nikki Berti. "These kids are really, really excited."
In addition, Raising Cane's restaurants raised and donated more than $12,000 collected from its six Southern Nevada locations in order to supply toys for this event.
For more information on both organization visit:
"Catch the Wave" - The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio.
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