Community Outreach – CATS in the Community Presented by Passport Health Plan

CATS offers student-athletes the opportunity to volunteer their time to help those in the community. The Outreach area has shown a significant increase in the number of student-athletes volunteering and the number of activities organized. During the 2013-14 academic year student-athletes volunteered over 4,300 hours of their time to community service in addition to going to class, attending practice, studying, and traveling to tournaments.

How to request a student-athlete volunteer or group
Please contact Dustin Lewis, UK Life Skills Coordinator, at if you would like to request a student-athlete volunteer.

The CATS Outreach Policy requires at least two weeks advanced notice to schedule a student-athlete for any volunteer activity due to the large number of requests we receive weekly. Furthermore, in order to request a UK student-athlete volunteer, an organization or event site must be within 30 miles of our Lexington campus. Student-athletes cannot afford to travel long distances due to the intense nature of their academic and athletic commitments (NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from missing class to attend an event).

cats-in-the-community logoIf making a request for the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball team, please e-mail Sandy Bell, UK Athletics Sr. Associate Athletics Director for Student Services, at

If making a request for the Wildcat mascot, please contact UK Head Cheerleading Coach Jomo Thompson at


IMG_2069UK Athletics/God’s Pantry Backpack Program
In 2010, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart created an athletics department-wide community service partnership with God’s Pantry, a Lexington food bank. Once a week, UK student-athletes, coaches and staff volunteer their time to package food-filled “back packs” and hand deliver them to local elementary schools. The meals are donated to children who come from underprivileged families in the Lexington community.

UK Athletics Blanket Project IMG_3559
In 2013, UK student-athletes created a community service endeavor that has come to be known as the “Blanket Project.” Led by the UK Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, over 250 UK student-athlete volunteer their time every December to make wool UK-themed blankets that are eventually donated to patients at UK Children’s Hospital.

IMG_4466Breakfast with Santa
Each December, a group of UK student-athletes attend this annual UK Children’s Hospital event. Volunteers spend their time visiting (and eating breakfast) with children and their families and help Santa Clause distribute presents. Afterwards, volunteers spend time visiting with patients at the hospital whose physical condition makes it impossible for them to attend the breakfast.

Salvation Army Tanner Anderson
During the holiday season, student-athletes volunteer their time ringing bells for the “Red Kettle Campaign” to help raise money for the Lexington Salvation Army. UK Athletics has won the Fayette County trophy for “most time given” 7 of the last 9 years.

School Speakers Whitney O'Bryan Cassidy
Student-athletes visit a number of local schools speaking to children on a variety of topics, including the importance of an education, good decision-making skills and setting goals. Student-athletes also spend countless hours volunteering for after school mentor/reading programs, including the annual Fayette County Read Across America celebration.

To document your community service activity, please complete an online form by clicking this link: or by e-mailing Dustin Lewis at

Please contact Dustin Lewis at if you or your teammates would like to get involved in any activity listed below and/or would like to request additional information. 

Wildcat Clean-Up: Beginning September 25th, students will have the opportunity to help pick up trash on Sundays following home football games from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. All volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and a meal will be provided.

Skype Mentoring: A high school in Kentucky is seeking volunteers to “Skype” once or twice each month with students. Volunteers are being asked to talk about working hard in school and teamwork.

Walk-a-Child to School Day: Wellington Elementary School, in conjunction with Safe Kids Fayette County, is once again taking part in this annual international event that encourages children to take safe routes to school each day. Volunteers will meet students at the Lexington Christian Academy (LCA) parking lot off Keithshire Way at 7 a.m. on October 5th and will walk with them to school.

UK Moves – the UK Athletics department, in conjunction with the other 13 SEC schools, is launching a campaign that encourages children to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits at an early age. The first 2016-17 event will take place at Tates Creek Elementary School in Lexington on one of the following dates: September 28, 29, October 3, 4 or 5 (anytime between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.).

Passport Health Plan is a provider-sponsored, non-profit, community-based health plan administering Medicaid benefits to more than 250,000 people around Kentucky. Named the top Medicaid plan in Kentucky by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for 2015-16, Passport has been contracted with Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services to administer Medicaid benefits since 1997 and has been serving the entire Commonwealth since January 1, 2014. For more information, go online to