Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Men's Soccer Teams Up With TOCO to Launch “Sneakers Not Wheelchairs” Campaign

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Valparaiso University men’s soccer program is teaming up with St. Lucian reggae artist Taj Weekes and his children’s charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO), to help launch the “Sneakers Not Wheelchairs” campaign - a public health initiative that will target the diabetes crisis in St. Lucia.  The Crusaders will conduct a fundraiser during the home opener at Brown Field on September 6th at 5:00 p.m. against nationally-ranked Michigan.

The “Sneakers Not Wheelchairs” campaign is a direct reference to the growing diabetes epidemic in St. Lucia, which owns the highest rate of diabetes per capita in the world and where there is reportedly an estimated two amputations per day due to diabetes-related illnesses.  Many become shut-ins because they are wheelchair bound, so the “Sneakers not Wheelchairs” campaign encourages St. Lucians to get up, put on their sneakers and exercise rather than become part of this alarming statistic.

TOCO is a U.S.-based not-for-profit organization founded by St. Lucian reggae artist Taj Weekes and is dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged, at-risk and orphaned children in the Caribbean through sport, enrichment, educational and wellness programs. TOCO HEALTH targets the diabetes crisis in St. Lucia which can only be described as epidemic.

During Diabetes Awareness Month in November, TOCO will bring blood glucose meters, test strips, educational and nutritional materials and several volunteer doctors to St. Lucia for a health fair and Annual Fun Walk to promote health and exercise in St. Lucia and encourage St. Lucians to opt for “Sneakers not Wheelchairs”.  The goal of the “Sneakers not Wheelchairs” campaign is to raise awareness of this epidemic by getting kids to play soccer, eat right, and eventually eliminate diabetes in St. Lucia permanently.

The Valparaiso men’s soccer program first became involved with TOCO early in the 2008 season when it received an e-mail from the organization asking for donations of used soccer equipment.  At the same time, head coach Mike Avery had recently returned from a trip to the Caribbean, where he had witnessed first-hand many of the conditions that TOCO was created to help fight.  The Crusader players and coaches decided to support TOCO by sending the organization some of its older equipment, forming a partnership that has grown over the past year.

"We are very excited to team up with Taj Weekes and TOCO to support the wonderful 'Sneakers not Wheelchairs' initiative,” said Avery.  “Soccer and music are two of the most powerful change agents in the world, and it is exciting for our little soccer team to play a small role in bringing TOCO's vision into reality.  I hope many people in the Valparaiso community will come out to support us against a good Michigan team next Sunday, but will also take the chance to help TOCO make a lasting difference in people's lives."

The fundraiser at the home opener will help TOCO purchase supplies for November’s mission trip.   The program is waiving the standard admission charge for the game against the Wolverines, and will instead be taking cash and check donations to help purchase new medical supplies to help provide resources to the population affected with diabetes.  Fans may also bring any new, packaged medical supplies, as well as gently used soccer equipment, that they wish to donate to the cause.  The Crusaders will continue to accept any donations throughout the season as well as they continue their partnership with TOCO into the 2009 season and beyond.

W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay