Student-Athletes Focusing on Education was founded in the month of October in the year 2015. S.A.F.E. was inspired by a federal grant received by the Center for Educational Partnerships (CEP) at the University of California, Merced for continuing to prepare high school level students to graduate and attend college. With the guidance from the Interim Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs, Dr. Charles Nies, S.A.F.E. was developed to help provide endless opportunities for high school students towards attending post-secondary education. S.A.F.E. was founded by Michael Pierick and nine other original S.A.F.E. Officers. This program was created for the student-athletes at the University of California, Merced to empower and impact our youth in the local Merced county.
As student-athletes we realize we are in a unique situation while attending universities and colleges around the country. What is more important to us is that we understand that we can share, teach, and empower our experience to the youth around us aspiring to be an intercollegiate student-athlete one day. The idea is that every youth student who is on their path to attending post-secondary education has their own individual way of achieving that level of success. We believe and know that the current intercollegiate student-athletes have at once experienced those exact same experiences and pathways. Through various programs and mentorships we will assist the youth of our communities, in not making the decision for them, but assisting them in making decisions that will empower them to succeed.
Advocates for our Youth!
As a team of current and post-college students from all various backgrounds, characteristics, strengths, ethnicity, religions, and color we all find one common ground, education and athletics, which allows us to succeed. In each of our lives, someone has been there in some shape or form that has allowed us to be where we are today. We believe that no individual deserves to forgo those same opportunities. Through mentorship, empowerment, and guidance we can make a difference in the lives of our youth today.
All of our mentors are trained and developed to assure the same advocacy for our youth. Each member of our organization is guided through our own developed training program to become certified R.E.P facilitators.
What makes every individual unique is that they come from different roots than the person next to them. Every situation and circumstance that each individual endures, is what leads them towards better understanding of those situations and circumstances. With that, we value that not everyone will go through the same experiences. Providing a diverse group of mentors allows our organization to further impact a greater volume of youth. Reflecting on our past and the roots that we grew from will allow us to connect and empower the youth of our local communities.
When we learn, we grow, and then we become someone better than who we used to be. Through life experiences we create life lessons and stories. Those stories and lessons are invaluable if they are not told or shared. Through experiences of our members lives, we can create a learning situation for all youth of our community. It is important to our organization that we do not make decisions for our youth but we educate our youth with different scenarios and their outcomes from previous experiences to allow them to make educated decisions. This style of relationship provides guidance towards a brighter future.
There is always an opportunity to be successful in each individual's life no matter there size, color, race, or beliefs. Each individual is different and each individual needs a little more or less pushing than another. Through reflecting on our roots and educating from our past, our mentors will have an established connection with the youth we work with to motivate and empower them for their own individual success. As mentors, it is not always about talking and saying what we think is right, it is about showing our own will, determination, and passion to persevere and succeed. We believe that the greatest empowerment between two individuals is the leadership and confidence in which the mentor illustrates the image we want our future generations to be.