Every third Thursday of each month, Idaho Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Spear will post a new blog entry directed towards Vandal fans. Dr. Spear will use these monthly communiqués to set the record straight and talk to you – Vandal to Vandal..
An archive of previous blog entries can be accessed here.
April 16, 2009
In preparation for the spring game weekend, our staff focused our efforts on improving the Hall of Fame wall in the Kibbie Dome. When you actually step back and look at the generations covered, the individuals, teams and accomplishments of our Hall of Fame inductees it is a very distinguished group. Many of these individuals have gone on to very illustrious careers. One person in particular is Hall of Fame member Craig Juntunen. After a successful business career and selling of his company, Craig retired at the age of 40. Craig’s retirement lasted a few years when Craig began to feel something was lacking. After a friend told him about adopting two girls from Haiti, Craig travelled to the third world country and eventually started Chances for Children, a foundation that works on behalf of orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti. Specifically, Chances for Children provides financial and strategic support for an adoption center named Creche Enfant de l’Jesus located in the small village of Ti Mache, outside of Port au Prince, Haiti. The crèche was built in 2003 by hundreds of volunteers from the U.S., Canada and Haiti. The result of their efforts was beautiful 14,000 square foot facility that is currently home to 40 children. Recently Craig published a book titled “Both Ends Burning” that chronicles his life story and focuses on Craig and his wife Kathi’s adoption of three young children from Haiti. The book can be purchased at:
All royalties from the purchase of this book will be directed to the Chances for Children Foundation.
What Craig and his wife have done is a perfect example of giving back to society. One of the biggest opportunities our student-athletes and coaches have is the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. Our Department of Athletics is committed to reaching out to our communities and giving back. Over this past year, there have been numerous examples of our student-athletes giving back to the community. From spring break service learning projects to spending time at elementary schools to developing and promoting a “Readers as Leaders” program, our student-athletes and coaches continue to amaze me with their willingness to give back. Strategically we continue to challenge our Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) to identify additional opportunities to give back to the communities in which we live. It is often overlooked that the value of being a student-athlete is the opportunity to give back. We will continue to develop the whole person in our athletic program by ensuring the earning of a quality degree, maximizing their athletic abilities and creating individuals who will give back to society.