About 100 middle and high school students crowded into the Morgridge International Reading Center Thursday to learn about what it takes to become a Knight during UCF’s Day of Caring event .

This half-day event was UCF’s inaugural participation in the United Way’s Days of Caring campaign. This campaign gives volunteers a chance to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the organizations served by the United Way. Every year thousands of people from area businesses, schools and community groups lend their time, talents, and energy to volunteer for projects that make a difference in our community.

The students participating are members of several Girls and Boys Clubs in Central Florida.

The Spirit Squad and Knightro, the school’s mascot, got the students excited within the first few minutes of the program. Then several distinguished speakers shared their personal stories about what it took for them to succeed. Several had stories about overcoming obstacles that made their goals seem unattainable, but with hard work and a good education, they all said they were able to succeed.

Among the speakers were: Gordon Chavis, associate vice president for Undergraduate Admissions; Wayne Jackson, director, Multicultural Academic & Support Services; Dick Batchelor, Distinguished Alumni and former member of the Florida House of Representatives; and Mike O’Donnell, Distinguished Alumni and current assistant director of the Golden Knights Club.

Then participants had the opportunity to listen to another speaker and mingle during a lunch sponsored by Kavaliro. A UCF graduate owns the company, which is ranked among the 500 fasting-growing companies in the nation.

A tour of campus followed. Students broke up into teams led by Spirit Squad members. After the groups visited a list of locations they returned to a grand surprise – a meet and greet with football players Jordan (#63) and Justin (#64) McCray. The offensive line players spoke to students about their journey to college, signed autographs and took photos with the youngsters.

About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida

Since 1944, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida has provided at-risk children from the local community, between the ages of 6-18, with a safe place to learn and grow.  Our membership totals nearly 13,000 young people at 29 Clubs and middle school sites in Brevard, Orangs, Osceola and Seminole Counties – Great Futures Start at Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.

The Mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.  Learn more at www.bgccf.org or facebook.com/bgccf.