Ducks players Ryan Getzlaf
, Chris Kunitz and Travis Moen took three low-income families on a back-to school shopping spree at Wal-Mart Foothill Ranch on Saturday morning. The kids, ranging in ages from 6 to 13, were from Saint Joseph Ballet, one of the nation’s most innovative afterschool programs for at-risk youth.
The players helped them pick out school supplies and other essentials to prepare the kids for the upcoming school year. Items included clothes and shoes (uniforms), backpacks, notepads, etc. The items were paid for at checkout by the Anaheim Ducks and Wal-Mart.
|Travis Moen helps try on shoes. |
According to Saint Joseph Ballet’s Assistant Program Director, Patty Gonzales, “These kids rarely get to go shopping for something new. This is such a special opportunity that will go a long way in motivating and preparing these children for school.”
Students and their families will also receive preseason Anaheim Ducks tickets as well as Ducks Kid Club Kits and other Ducks merchandise. Ducks Care, the former philanthropic arm of the Anaheim Ducks hockey club has provided grants to Saint Joseph Ballet since 2006, totaling $25,000 in support.
Saint Joseph Ballet in Santa Ana is 25-year-old arts-based after school program that uses dance to provide hope and teach young people what it takes to succeed in life, including self-esteem, confidence, leadership, cooperative learning and discipline. Through cutting edge programs, professionals ignite creativity and awaken the spirits in nearly 400 low-income youth each year.
|Chris Kunitz with one of the Saint Joseph Ballet kids. |
Academic, family and college scholarship programs build on the skills students learn through dance and all are offered at little or no cost to participating families. Since 1997, 98% of Saint Joseph Ballet's graduates have enrolled in college, far exceeding the national average for their peers. Youth who enter Saint Joseph Ballet with few resources leave with the tools and skills to build healthy futures for themselves, their families and the community.