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 Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


A Friendly Face Away From Home
By Linda Poncin, Assistant Sports Information Director

Moving away from home can be an exciting and scary adventure for most college students. But imagine moving to a different state, or even a different country. Many student-athletes at the University of Colorado come to Boulder unfamiliar with the city and everything Boulder has to offer. To help these student-athletes, there are the friendly faces of Jim and Rosie Gilbert.

The Gilberts are mentors on campus for student-athletes. They provide assistance to a student-athlete outside of academic tutoring and athletic instruction by helping them to adjust to university life in other areas.

The program started in 1999 when former CU Head Football Coach Gary Barnett asked Jeannie Dixon, former assistant athletic director for Community Relations, to start the program.

"We were doing some volunteer work for Jeannie and she caroused us into doing it," Rosie said.

Like other programs in college athletics, the NCAA has rules and regulations to follow.

"You're really not allowed to provide them any kind of financial assistance that could be viewed as financial assistance," Jim said. "For example, you can't take them out to a restaurant and buy them dinner. You can have them over to your home for an occasional meal for a special occasion, but it couldn't be every night."

Through the years, the Gilberts have had five student-athletes and all have been international students on the men's and women's tennis teams. They have found the experience to be very rewarding.

"Getting to know a student-athlete and having somebody really become part of your family and you becoming part of theirs is very special," Jim said. "And we have enjoyed meeting their families."

"The relationships that we've built are unbelievable," Rosie said. "It's hard to describe… meeting their families, being a part of them and them being a part of us."

And like all college students, the student-athletes eventually leave. When Rosie was asked what the hardest part about being a mentor was, she exclaimed, "Letting them go!"


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