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Football kicks off their ‘voting matters’ community outreach

The Bruins were out in full force this past weekend, distributing free school supplies to children amid other events

The UCLA Bruins were out this past weekend, reaching their community in positive ways, distributing free backpacks as well as school supplies to children at a drive-through event hosted through the YMCA. At the Weingart YMCA Wellness & Aquatic Center, the Bruins helped to donate 1,000 or more backpacks as well as other supplies in the trunks of cars to families with school-aged youth in the Inglewood area.

“UCLA football’s all about acts of service.” Quentin Lake said. “It’s important because we have such a big name. UCLA’s such a big name in the LA community that it’s important for us to be active in these areas.”

UCLA players also brought voter education up during this time after they launched their Voting Matters Initiative this past June. They’re encouraging voter registration during this Election Year and all other subsequent years following.

The student-athletes also teamed up with staff members this past weekend and is scheduled to attend a food distribution event next month as part of their Huddle Up campaign.

Their full release is below:

The UCLA football program kicked off the civic engagement portion of the athletic department’s Voting Matters Initiative Saturday morning, distributing free backpacks and school supplies to children at a drive-through event hosted by the Weingart YMCA Wellness & Aquatic Center.

Approximately 1,000 backpacks were placed in car trunks of families with school-aged youth from in and around Inglewood. Student-athletes and staff members, wearing face coverings and gloves, were spread across multiple stations throughout the parking lot.

“It’s a special day,” said defensive back Quentin Lake, who teamed with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson at one station. “UCLA football’s all about acts of service. It’s important because we have such a big name. UCLA’s such a big name in the LA community that it’s important for us to be active in these areas.”

The Voting Matters Initiative was launched in June to bring voter education to, and encourage voter registration within, UCLA’s student-athlete community. Brian Norwood, in his first year as the football team’s assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach, is among a number of staff members taking an active role in ensuring the message of the initiative is heard.

“Just watching the guys right now, interacting with community, interacting with fans of UCLA sports, not just football, but all sports, it’s really been a blessing,” said Norwood, who was at Saturday’s event. “It’s been just a joy seeing these guys interact and be able to do it through service.”

In addition to taking part in voter education sessions, teams throughout the department are taking part in civic engagement opportunities. As part of its own “Huddle Up” initiative, the football program is also scheduled to participate in a food distribution event in September.

“I’ve been doing it ever since I got to UCLA, just looking for ways to serve,” said defensive back Shea Pitts. “This is a great opportunity. Even though there’s coronavirus going on, we’ve got our masks, we’ve got our gloves, got our hand sanitizer, so we’re going to make sure we get things done and we can inspire the youth and then change someone’s life, hopefully.”

Photo courtesy of Andrew Cho, UCLA