Ron Dayne launches program to recognize ‘community champions’

Ron Dayne spoke about his new 'Community Champions' program during a visit to UW-Madison Monday.

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Former University of Wisconsin-Madison football player and 1999 Heisman winner Ron Dayne announced Monday the launch of his new Community Champions program, which aims to collect nominations for and acknowledge volunteers who have made a positive community impact.

UW Athletics Community Relations Coordinator Kayla Gross said in a Monday press conference the program is organized around four key initiatives impacted by the nominees: education, mentorship, providing assistance in a time of crisis or illness and health and wellness.

Community Champions is a new initiative affiliated with Badgers Give Back, UW Athletics’ service-based program targeted at connecting UW-Madison student athletes to the community.

Dayne, the founder of the program, was an all-time leading rusher during his time at UW-Madison and was drafted by the New York Giants in 2000, according to the UW Athletics website. He was inducted as a member of the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2011 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

According to the website, Dayne has always put an emphasis on mentoring children and is enthusiastic to recognize people who do the same through Community Champions.

“This is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community,” Dayne said in the press conference. “I just think that it’s something I had to do.”

The program asks community members and fans to nominate local volunteers who they believe have made a positive difference.

Nomination forms can be submitted through the Badgers Give Back page at uwbadgers.com. Selected winners will be recognized at an athletics event, on the field or court depending on the month, Gross said in the press conference.

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