Student-Athletes Focusing on Education

S.A.F.E. leverages University of California, Merced student-athletes towards developing projects and programs to empower and encourage the local youth student-athletes. With a variety of interactive programs and projects, S.A.F.E.'s goal is to provide endless opportunities for our local student-athletes to attend post-secondary education in the form of 4-year universities and colleges. 


student ahtlete of the Month

Brandon Mckinney

2016 Summer Playground Camp

For the summer of 2016, S.A.F.E. and the City of Merced joined hands in developing a low costing, youth recreation and education camp for the local kids of Merced. Youth were engaged in recreation, science, and skill development while participating in the inaugural city camp. The youth were addressed by the Merced Fire Department, Merced County Sheriff's Department, UC Merced Drone Lab, and many other local officials. The Summer Playground camp was a weekly rotational camp that consistently maintained previous weeks participants as well as new incoming participants. Kids met at Rahilly Park starting at 8:30am and were picked up after lunch at 12:30pm. The focus of the camp was placed on education through recreation and hands-on experiences. With every emerging recreation idea, the same question was asked, "How can we make it a educational learning experience?". Every time it was answered! And how the kids responded was better than words, big smiles and loud oohs and ahhs.


The youth participants spent the last few days of each week traveling to UC Merced, Chafee Zoo, Island Water Park, and the Hillmar Cheese Factory. But what drew the attention of the kids, was not the arts and crafts, the playground, the recreation activities, but it was science experiments. Led by UC Merced Biology S.A.F.E. members, the science projects strived to inspire and educate the youth through excitement. As a large group, S.A.F.E., the City of Merced, and youth, combined towards creating filtration systems, model rockets, solar balloons, drones, and much more. With each experiment kids learned how it worked, who studies and works on those type of science experiments, and how to become someone who works on those experiments. As the summer comes to an end, the debriefing of the past summer will close and the development for a bigger and better camp next year begins. The City of Merced and S.A.F.E. will look to expand to other facilities, as well as triple to quadruple in participant size.

News & Events

Experience of a lifetime with the amazing Coach Kevin Pham & UC Merced

Come out and join the UC Merced Men's basketball team and Head Coach Kevin Pham for a day of basketball through the college experience. Elite talent, elite coaches, and elite college experience! When you register as a group of 4, each player within that group is only charged $65. Visit

The gatorade player of the year awarded at Merced High

At Merced High School, softball player, Madilyn Nickles was rewarded with the Gatorade Player of the Year. Nickles has signed with the University of California Los Angeles. With all the accolades accomplished, Nickles worked out a 3.97 GPA in her high school career. To read more about Nickles and her accomplishments, click here. 

Connecting the merced community & the UC Merced Campus

On June 8, 2016 the UC Merced Campus will be having a Groundbreaking & Block Party in celebration of a new 3-story UC Merced Downtown Center on the corner of N Street and 18th Street. Click Here for more information.

stay fit and build community awareness through hoopsterz 3-on-3 Summer league

What a better way to support your community and people who live in it!? Support local social entrepreneurs Syndicate Mentality Entertainment LLC and your community by signing up for the summer 3-on-3 league. Signs up are available at or by registering at La Nitas in Atwater. For more information please contact (209) 445-4564 or (209) 489-3401.

Landeros breaks extra innings tie to bring Merced softball to 10-0

April 25, 2016

Merced High School's Alazaya Landeros smacks a huge double in the 7th inning against Golden Valley High School to improve record to 10-0 in the CCC. To view the full story click here.

Buhach's Kendrick throws no-hitter on debut

March 24, 2016

Buhach Colony High School's Freshman, Alex Kendrick, made his debut at the Fresno Easter Classic this past March. SAFE recognizes Alex a student-athlete of hard work and determination. Each week Alex meets with SAFE tutors for striving for academic success to continue his stellar performance on the mound. Click here to see the full story.


Member of the MONTH

Jade Fachin

Jade is an incoming sophomore at the University of California, Merced. Jade is originally from Los Banos, CA. She is the first Project Coordinator for the Pizza Their Heart Program under SAFE, where she organized a drive to feed the Merced Rescue Mission individuals through left over Dining Commons money from UC Merced students.

Meet the Founder


I am a graduating student-athlete with a Bachelors of Science in Management. I spent all four years of my collegiate career playing for the University of California, Merced Men's basketball team. With experience as a senior co-captain and previous non-profit development internships, I decided to test my passion for assisting the people that surround me. With the approval of UC Merced Chancellor, Dr. Dorothy Lelland, and the guidance of UCM Interim Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs, Dr. Charles Nies, I founded Student-Athletes Focusing on Education.