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A Time of Giving for K-State Student-Athletes

December 11, 2013
By Kelly McHugh

For K-State student-athletes, this time of year is always the busiest. 

Like most students, there are finals to study for and holiday plans to be made, and for many, their respective sport's season is going full force.

They are training, studying opponents and competing in games all the while balancing their schoolwork and working to succeed during finals week.

However on Sunday evening, all that business was put aside as over 30 student-athletes met at the West Stadium Center Training Table to wrap gifts for their adopted families.

"I've been involved in Adopt-A-Family since my freshman year," senior men's golf David Klaudt said. "So this is my fourth time, and it just gets better and better. I think it's wonderful just to see everybody here and taking time out of our crazy finals schedules to get these gifts and wrap them."

Each team at K-State had a player represented at the wrapping party, and despite an evening full of anticipation waiting to find out which bowl destination he'd be heading to, wide receiver Curry Sexton represented his team staying late and wrapping presents. 

This year, the football team shopped for 14-year-old Jevon, and Sexton said picking out presents for him was a lot easier than their adopted families in years past.

"It was cool to shop for an older kid," laughed Sexton. "Last year we had a three-month-old girl, so it was nice shopping for a 14-year-old boy interested into sports like we all are."

Sexton said though his team has been busier than ever the past few weeks, getting his teammates together to donate last minute wasn't a problem at all.

"We kind of forgot about it, to be honest, with the season coming to an end, but Gianna (Misenhelter) texted us last week to remind us and see if we could come up with some money," explained Sexton. "(Tyler) Lockett and I made an announcement after running one day saying, 'If you could just lend a dollar or two, that'd be great,' and we came up with a good amount of money in a short amount of time. Jake (Waters) and I went out and shopped tonight for our kid. So it's tough with the season and everything, but we had a great turnout."

Misenhelter, a senior on the women's golf team and SAAC representative, was the person in charge of this year's Adopt-A-Family event.

"I did this last year so I kind of knew what to do," Misenhelter said about coordinating the event. "It's pretty simple because you're working with the athletes. I have free time being out of season, so that's more time to focus on this."

Misenhelter is in charge of gathering the money from each student-athlete, giving each team its respective person or family to shop for and setting up the wrapping party.

"It was really cool last year. I got with one of my teammates to deliver our gifts, the family was just really happy," said Misenhelter. "Some of the basketball team went last year, and one of the little boys they delivered to just started crying. He was so happy. It's really awesome to get experiences like that."

It is recommended that each student-athlete give five dollars towards Adopt-A-family that then goes back to Misenhelter who divides the total amount of money among the teams.

This year, K-State Athletics picked out five families to help out over the holidays. Each family is divided among the teams with some teams getting a parent and other teams getting a sister or brother. The women's golf table was covered with Tinkerbell wrapping paper as their presents were specially picked out for a nine-year-old little girl.

"It's really fun to work with the community because Manhattan is an awesome town," Misenhelter said. "It's amazing because we don't always see it, but there are so many people that are in need here, and the opportunity to help them is pretty special."

Klaudt agreed that giving back to a community that has always given so much to his team this holiday season has been extra special.

"It's just a token of appreciation. We're all-in in supporting these kids who support us, who come to our games and fill the stands," Klaudt said.

These student-athletes know that putting a smile on someone else's face is the least they can do this Christmas, and despite their personal lives or their personal needs, more than 400 K-State student-athletes gave back.

"We know Christmas is all about giving, and I think the guys on our team understand that and they want to be a part of that," said Sexton. "We made the announcement, and within 20 minutes I had well over $100 in my hands. We have guys from all across the country, and a lot of guys struggle themselves, but everyone can give a dollar. Some guys gave up to 20 dollars, so it was cool to see the team in a giving spirit."

  

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh, Mark Janssen or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.