The Varsity Blues football team is raising funds to defray the costs of program enhancements, such as recruiting and training camps, by asking Toronto businesses and community leaders to “adopt” players for $300 each. The Adopt-a-Blue program, expected to raise $20,000 this year, was instituted in 2002 by head coach Steve Howlett. The program requires each player to obtain either one $300 sponsorship or two $150 sponsorships.
Under Howlett’s direction, players such as Varsity Blues defensive back Damion Waite wasted no time organizing their “adoptions.” Waite contacted Andy Filipiuk (BPHE 1985), a Blues football player himself in the 1980s. “It’s for a good cause, so I had no problem asking,” says Waite, who plans to attend the Faculty of Education after he graduates this spring. He says the program is a great way for former players to stay involved with the Blues, and he plans to participate himself one day. “I’d love to [support the team] when I graduate.”
Filipiuk, now a broker with National Bank Financial, is eager to see young athletes enjoy a sport that meant so much to him. “If you work hard on a team, you can be successful; it’s great preparation for life after university,” he says.
Filipiuk applauds the sales skills fostered by the Adopt-a-Blue initiative, too. “Life is sales, so it’s a good life experience,” he says.
Howlett agrees wholeheartedly. “It’s a great opportunity for the players to connect with community members and sell them on what the program stands for,” he says. “We espouse the value of service, and we want the athletes to be very conscious of both the university and greater Toronto communities.”