Think back to your childhood. Who were your role models? Did they look like you? Did they represent the kind of person you wanted to be when you grew up?

Thanks to a special partnership with Badgers Give Back, each one of our fourth and fifth graders is paired with a UW student athlete of color. LCEC kids write back and forth with these Badger football, women’s basketball, and women’s softball team members, attend sporting events, and hang out on campus together.

How’s it going? Just look at those smiling faces or ask our first participant in the Wisconsin Shoe Project. Cheryse (not her real name) walked onto the field before and after a UW football game, met linebacker Zack Baun, and took home a pair of perfectly-sized autographed shoes. She even got to bring her mom and four siblings to the game for this once in a lifetime experience. This fourth grader was selected by staff to acknowledge tremendous leaps forward in her maturity and willingness to take a leadership role among classmates.

While all of our afterschool kids will tell you this partnership is great, one particular fourth grader will be quick to tell you he has “the COOLEST pen pal!”

Thank you, Badgers Give Back, for making such great teammates.