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Toreros Participate in Shop With a Jock
USD football players Steve Gargiulo and Blake Oliaro participated in the event.

Dec. 4, 2013

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Over 40 USD student-athletes participated in an evening local kids will not forget as they experienced a fun holiday shopping spree during the 19th annual Shop with a Jock event.

The Junior Seau Foundation once again hosted its annual "Shop with a Jock" at the Target in Mission Valley Tuesday night. The Shop with a Jock event started nearly two decades ago and the foundation is carrying on Seau's legacy by continuing this holiday tradition of giving back to the city that was very special to him and the children he loved.

"While the Toreros have been pleasing fans on the field and court lately, the `Shop with a Jock' event likely made them fan favorites for life, with the more than 40 kids in need that were taken shopping.

Ron Valenzuela, Assistant Athletic Director for Academics and Student Athlete Services said, "he knows that the holidays can be a tough time for kids and families in need and this is an outstanding opportunity for student athletes to be a part of. As the holidays near it becomes increasingly important to give as opposed to get. Admittedly, it can be hard but it can be done".

The Junior Seau Foundation teamed with Target, corporate sponsors and individual donors to take 250 children in need from local Boys and Girls Clubs shopping. Each child was given a $100 gift certificate to shop for gifts for their loved ones. They were paired with a professional or collegiate athlete who accompanied them while they shopped. Senior defensive end Blake Oliaro stated, "The best thing about last night was the kids! They were so thankful for everything and were genuinely happy to hang out with an athlete".

The evening began with a dinner buffet, music and a dance competition among the kids for a bike. Once inside Target, kids were provided a shopping bag and with no time to waste were on a holiday shopping spree searching for presents. USD student athletes helped the children select clothing, decide between gifts and attempt to stay within their spending budget. Senior midfielder Lauren Dotson said, "I am so grateful for the experience and the opportunity to help the kids have a great Christmas and to be able to share a memory that will last a lifetime. The Junior Seau Foundation puts on a great night for the kids and the athletes to network and bond while getting into the holiday spirit. I love that USD participates in the Shop with a Jock!"

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