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Players take part in Rachel's Challenge, a national project

Athletes in Outreach is a year-round SAGU service  

lions-football-outreach-group-shotWAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The influence that many athletes have upon American culture was apparent throughout the fall football season.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University Head Coach Jesse Godding is the catalyst behind numerous outreaches and programs for the Lions.

One of them took place at Palmer Elementary School, less than twelve miles east of Waxahachie.

The SAGU athletes walked among the children handing out sport balls and decals. Coach Godding narrated a story, The Brand New Kid to a young audience.

The rally emphasized the showing of kindness and acceptance as the campus welcomed new students into their pre-kindergarten through third grade classrooms this fall.

Members of the Lions encouraged classes by sharing their individual memories of their experiences in being “the new student” in a classroom.

The assembly message drew a thunderous applause when freshman kicker Chadd Dearen, from Garland, Texas, presented a modified version of the “Snuggie Rap.”

The project coincided with Rachel’s Challenge, the event that honors the life of Rachel Joy Scott, the first person killed at Columbine High School (Littleton, Colo) in 1999.

According to Gina Godding, the KC Club sponsor of Rachel’s Challenge at Palmer Elementary, “her acts of kindness and compassion coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the foundation of Rachel’s Challenge.”

“It is one the most life-changing school programs in America,” she pointed out. “It is a premier, integrated K-through-grade-12 program for making kindness and compassion a way of life.”

Ms. Godding added the strengths of Rachel’s Challenge. “It proactively addresses the issues of bullying and school violence and helps promote an atmosphere that is conducive to effective learning.”

The wholesome investment in the lives of children was very well received.

The project at Palmer involved freshman Venique Benton, Dearen, freshman Samson Figueiredo, sophomore Derius Griffin, junior Mitchell Grimes, senior Josh Harris, sophomore Tyler Jenkins, freshman Javier Lopez and junior Dylan Moore.

SAGU played five games on the road. While most players and coaches return to campus on Saturday evening, Coach Godding led a ministry team that remained in the area for Sunday church services.

The team was comprised of players, coaches and team representatives, including Jaroy Carpenter.

The team divided to teach age-level classes prior to the morning worship service. Coach Godding would follow by speaking with team members testifying or ministering in music.

This has been a staple during Godding’s thirteen years at SAGU.

Carpenter is SAGU’s former Athletic Trainer and Director of Athletes in Outreach.

Carpenter is now the Director at the Lakeview Camp and Conference Center on the outskirts of Waxahachie.

Scores of SAGU athletes will be involved in camps in various states including Carpenter's Camp Padre.

SAGU went 6-4 this fall, finishing second in the NAIA’s Central States Football League. A 38-34 triumph over No. 25 ranked Bacone College capped the season.

The National Christian College Athletic Association, where the Lions enjoy dual membership (along with the NAIA), rated the team third in their national standings at the end of the regular season.

SAGU continues to broadcast all home games on-line, in HD, on the SAGU Sports Network.

Archived games can be accessed on SAGUtv.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 469-658-2847.

For more information on Rachel's Challenge:  www.rachelschallenge.org

For more information on Lakeview Camp and Conference Centerlakeviewcamp.net  

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