This blog, which is long overdue, is meant to highlight Alec Golini’s efforts and tireless work to continue expanding Athletes C.A.R.E.’s impact. Recently a clothing apparel company called Free Country awarded Alec as this months Everyday Hero. Free Country describes an Everyday Hero as “The people in our communities who are making a mark on the world, one act at a time! Acts that display motivation, perseverance and passion deserve recognition.” And Alec certainly deserves the recognition.
Athletes C.A.R.E. was born in 2012 by the vision and leadership of its founder, Alec. Alec dreamed the idea for the organization and with the help of friends that he had previously volunteered with many times, he managed to band together a group of Lafayette College athletes to buy into his vision. Beginning with a board of ten members, Athletes C.A.R.E. has now grown to a board of eighteen members, forty two general members and branches of Athletes C.A.R.E. at six other college and universities. Taking into account the graduated members as well as members from other schools our group of ten has become a team encompassing just under a hundred current and former college athletes… in three years.
The bigger the team, the greater the impact. Through the addition of six other universities we are thrilled to see how much farther our impact can reach. We have been able to raise over $40,000 to give back to the community in a variety of ways. This has included feeding the homeless in Philadelphia, donating money to a shelter so they could build a new roof to protect their habitants and sending food to a local food bank for the holidays. However, the impact they are most proud of is not entirely financial, it is being a part of the community and finding a way to give back in a way that leverages an athletes strongest asset, their love of sports and ability to use their sport as a tool to connect with and impact others. Explaining to a six year old the importance of caring for others and giving back is important, but showing them how they can use sports and the bonds with teammates and those sharing similar passions can leave a lasting impression. That is what they are aiming to do, and Alec has cultivated the perfect environment and group of people to successfully do so.
Alec, after graduating in 2014, is now working as a middle school teacher at the North Star Academy Charter School of Newark. He is continuing to give back both through his teaching career as well as with Athletes C.A.R.E., serving as the Founder and President. When asked if he was nervous about the future of Athletes C.A.R.E. post graduation when he could no longer lead our team on campus, he responded, “Not being able to be ‘in the trenches’ so to speak, was something that took some getting used to. However, our organization is made up of strong branch managers and leaders across our branches that have a firm grip on our mission, how we do things, best practices, and the like. At this point, our organization is a well-oiled machine with the leadership in place to carry us, while continuing to grow and prosper, for years to come.” Some of the individuals he is referencing include but are not limited to the executive committee, the chairman of the board, the two co-chairs of the board as well as other members who serve as branch managers and numerous other positions like media director and website developer. All of these individuals are well equipped to lead Athletes C.A.R.E. following the groundwork Alec created.
Since starting Athletes C.A.R.E. three years ago Alec has a hard time picking one moment that stands out more than others, saying “It is all special.” However, he did say “A moment that sticks with me in my mind is when our small group of just over ten members attended the Lafayette College pep rally, set up a booth, and advertised our organization for the very first time. I could see the passion with which our members talked about our cause, the excitement for our vision, and where the potential lied. That has translated immensely and made us who we are today, a thriving organization of young people doing good in the world and making the most of our status as athletes in our communities.” With the right people, the right leader, and a shared vision it is clear that a lot of improvement can take place in a short amount of time.
Athletes C.A.R.E. consists of a pretty unique group of people. They have a range of personalities, from the ones that constantly send funny gifs to the group message to the ones that are all business all the time. That is what naturally happens when you create a group of athletes representing almost every team and major on Lafayette’s campus. We have worked to create and maintain an environment where no one is afraid to express their ideas and speak up about their opinions. Some of the ideas that come up at meetings never happen, but they always serve as idea generators for other members and a reminder that all of the members are constantly thinking of ways to improve, grow and impact others. When Alec described the members of Athletes C.A.R.E. his defining word was passionate. “Athletes are naturally passionate, enthusiastic people who are so dedicated and committed in their efforts both on and off the field of competition. That passion has translated to our organization - it seems as if every day a member is coming to us with a new idea, a new fundraiser, a new way to reach our communities. It is truly inspiring and I could not be more proud to be a part of such a passionate group of young leaders.” So many of the members have proven they are leaders on the field, now they are leading by example and showing what they can do off it. Alec’s initiative and leadership was the spark that created the exciting potential Athletes C.A.R.E. has with the impressive line of young leaders already exhibiting their passion. Now the question is, who’s next?