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'This was a blast': 10th annual Tigers Give Back day
Tigers Give Back: BraveHeart inclusion ambassadors enjoyed their field day on Cater Lawn. Photo: Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics
Tigers Give Back: BraveHeart inclusion ambassadors enjoyed their field day on Cater Lawn. Photo: Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics

April 11, 2018

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - For the 11 inclusion ambassadors from Auburn's BraveHeart Center for Place and Purpose, Wednesday's field day on Cater Lawn was their time to shine.

"We're so excited to have everybody here today to be a part of this," said Angie Burque, BraveHeart's founder.

The ambassadors, ages 21 to 27, formed three teams -- Team One, Team Aubie and Team Rainbow -- partnering with senior staff members from Auburn Athletics in a variety of events.

"This was a blast," said Director of Athletics Allen Greene after teaming with Drew from BraveHeart in the three-legged race. "No. 1, it's great for us as an Auburn Athletics department to give back to the community. I think we, as the staff members, actually got more out of it than the folks who we're here to serve."

Burque founded BraveHeart, a health and wellness community inclusion program for young adults with disabilities facing moderate to severe challenges, eighteen months ago.

"This program benefits and enhances the quality of life, not just of our inclusion ambassadors and their families," she said. "But it also is a great place for Auburn students to develop soft skills and learn about how to interact and build relationships with people who are in some way different than you.

"When the AD is here, that elevates the importance. He is modeling in such a beautiful way that, while they may have challenges related to communication and cognitive, each of them is very rich. Watching him step into developing one-on-one relationships is the core of what we're trying to do."

Field Day at Cater Lawn was one of eight events in the tenth Tigers Give Back community service day.

Head football coach Gus Malzahn continued his tradition of calling bingo for residents at Oak Park nursing home.

At Chewacla State Park, equestrian coach Greg Williams led a large team that maintained trails, with volleyball coach Rick Nold handling a chainsaw. Student-athletes from Auburn's swimming and diving team joined them.

Softball and baseball coaches and staff visited cancer patients at East Alabama Medical Center.

Men's basketball joined other Athletics staffers packing backpacks with food for elementary school students, a weekly commitment from the Jason Dufner Foundation.

Other projects included outdoor and indoor work at Storybook Farms in Opelika and Head Start in Auburn, and writing thank you notes for Tigers Unlimited donors as part of Auburn University's Thank A-You Day.

About 125 coaches and staff signed up to participate in Tigers Give Back, director of community relations Latisha Durroh said.

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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