Dec. 17, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team provided 40 local underprivileged children with a "Holiday SWishes" shopping spree on Tuesday evening as part of the Athletic Department's Gauchos Give community outreach program.
Working with 10 kids apiece from the Page Youth Center as well as the Westside, Santa Barbara, and Goleta Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara and Goleta, the Gauchos spent the evening with the kids, who were given $100.00 shopping sprees at Kmart in Goleta. For the second straight year, the effort was spearheaded by Assistant Coach Brad Holland.
"The relationships we have with the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Page Youth Center are very good," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "We really appreciate them working with us on this because it is our opportunity to spend time and contribute something to kids in town who otherwise might not have that."
Williams said that the bond that was formed between the Gaucho players and the kids was significant.
"The one-on-one time that our guys spent with the kids was great," Williams said. "The relationship you can build with kids in 45 minutes - or two hours in the case of the Lucas Devenny - is really cool."
Devenny, a freshman forward on the UCSB roster, spent two hours with the two kids he accompanied around the store.
The Gauchos' 12th-year head coach said there was also great appreciation for the members of the local community who contributed to the effort.
"The appreciation level of the kids and the families was really touching," Williams said. "We applaud the generosity of the people in this community who stepped-up. It shows that, even in tough times, this community is especially ready to support kids."
The event ended at around 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday and nine hours later, at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, the Gauchos were on an airplane headed for Montana.