Athletes helping their community

Mark Corbett, fourth-year defenceman for the Rams. (Courtesty Ryerson Athletics Department)

Mark Corbett, fourth-year defenceman for the Rams. (Courtesy Ryerson Athletics Department)

Ryerson is giving its athletes more opportunities to reach out to the community through a new initiative, Ryerson Athletic Volunteer Experience, or RAVE.

“RAVE was formed because student-athletes were creating meaningful community outreach initiatives on their own and the amount of others who wanted to do the same began to grow,” said Suzanne Fenerty, who is a part of Ryerson’s athletics’ community events and engagement team.

“The students themselves were actually behind the idea whether they know it or not.”

In the past, students on their own have organized blood donor clinics, a mental health awareness campaign and a Special Olympics basketball event.

RAVE’s operations will be student-initiated. When students have an idea, they come up with complete plans, including how they will execute their ideas, what they will need, challenges they may encounter and whether they will need assistance. RAVE will then give them the necessary tools to help bring the plan to life.

Two new ideas that have been brought forward this year include plans to work with the Hospital for Sick Children, and a trick-or-eat campaign, which is aimed at helping children who don’t have enough to eat.

The most important part when it comes to bringing ideas to RAVE is passion, said Fenerty.

“We expect them to be passionate about the idea they are bringing to us,” said Fenerty. “We want them to have a meaningful experience while having fun at the same time.”

Mark Corbett, a fourth-year defenceman on the men’s hockey team, is one of the first students with a RAVE idea. He wants to create a Ryerson Rams game day experience for children from underprivileged neighbourhoods.

The plan is for his program to give children who love hockey a chance to suit up in Rams gear and join the team on the ice prior to the beginning of the game.

Corbett got the idea after seeing the hockey team San Jose Sharks give someone the opportunity last season.

“I thought to myself, we may not be NHLers, but why can’t we do this for kids in Toronto,” said Corbett.

By Melissa Wronzberg

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