Alec Golini, Lafayette College

Alec GoliniAlec Golini, a senior at Lafayette College, is a young man who has chosen to use his leadership skills as a student-athlete to inspire other young people to better understand and care about addressing issues of hunger and homelessness. In 2012, Alec formed his own nonprofit, Athletes C.A.R.E.; the organization now has branches on three other campuses and has raised almost $30,000, with most of the money going to shelters that provide food, case management services, and up to two years of housing for individuals and families striving to escape poverty. Through the organization’s website and blogs, Alec also urges his peers to engage in hands-on mentoring of low-income children and to refrain from making negative snap judgments of poor people ( Alec also has sought to dispel negative stereotypes of the poor by creating venues for them to share their stories; with three other college students, he produced a 13-minute documentary featuring residents of a homeless shelter (A Roofover Our Heads; and a photo-narrative book that gives young, low-income teen parents a chance to share their stories of struggle and triumph. Alec plans to become a lawyer who advocates for the poor and homeless.
-Alison Byerly, President

Effective community leadership efforts are only possibly through the engagement of others. From the start, the goal of Athletes C.A.R.E., the nonprofit I founded in 2012, was to engage young people in community service projects that better the lives of the poor, hungry, and homeless. Athletes C.A.R.E. provides young people with opportunities to address structurally rooted problems like hunger and homelessness in ways that have a long-term, sustainable impact. We support nonprofit agencies that provide housing, food, case management services, and rent and utilities assistance to individuals and families who are struggling financially. As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” The same holds true with civic engagement – provide others with the exciting opportunity to support others in a way that addresses the problems at their core and you have a strong model for positive social change. Athletes C.A.R.E. has inspired many young people to address problems like hunger and homelessness; it has grown from a 10-person organization that raised less than $1,000 its first year to an organization active on four campuses that has raised almost $30,000 just two years later.
-Alec Golini