FAYETTEVILLE, ARK., August 1st, 2022 – Athlete Advocate Consortium (AAC), announced two additions from the University of Arkansas men’s basketball team to their roster for the upcoming season — Jalen Graham and Jordan Walsh. The Northwest Arkansas-based NIL organization, which was created last year, also announced the local non-profits each of these student-athletes will work with and promote.
Jalen Graham, an All-PAC-12 transfer from Arizona State, will be paired with the Samaritan Community Center in Rogers and Springdale. Jordan Walsh, a McDonald’s All-American from Desoto, Texas, will partner with the Jones Center in Springdale.
Debbie Rambo, executive director of Samaritan Community Center, said she is excited for the opportunity to partner with AAC again this year. “Jalen Graham is going to be an outstanding advocate, as he has experienced some of what our client families face every day,” said Rambo.
Terri Trotter, President & CEO of The Jones Center, said her team already has several engagements planned for Walsh. “We are ready to support Jordan in his first year at Arkansas, and we have no doubts he will serve as an excellent ambassador for The Jones Center’s impact across the Northwest Arkansas region.”
In addition to these signees, AAC also announced a partnership with 13 other members of the basketball program. All team members will engage in a campaign to raise awareness for the Children’s Safety Center in Springdale.
“The Children’s Safety Center is extremely thankful to partner with the entire University of Arkansas men’s basketball team and the AAC over the next year,” said Executive Director Elizabeth Shackelford. “We are honored and excited to raise more awareness and education in our community regarding child abuse.”
According to AAC Co-founder Bryan Hunt, the decision to engage all members of the 2022 basketball team was an opportunity to leverage the marketability of the highest-ranked recruiting class in the UA’s history.
“As we were evaluating the applicants for this year’s program, we determined this has the potential to be an exceptional year for Arkansas basketball,” said Bryan Hunt. “Our goal is to utilize the excitement and the following these star athletes have to help drive awareness of area non-profits.”
In only their first year of operation, AAC was able to raise over $50,000 for Samaritan Community Center through a partnership with All-American and All-SEC guard, JD Notae. According to AAC Co-founder Mandy Hunt, these partnerships make an impact on the lives of the players in addition to making a difference for non-profits in the community.
“We’re giving these student-athletes a deeper understanding of the struggles taking place in parts of our community. Some of these young men have experienced similar difficulties in their own childhoods and feel a personal connection by serving in this capacity,” said Mandy Hunt.
About Athlete Advocate Consortium
AAC provides a full-time team to each of our partner athletes, a team dedicated to building the student-athlete’s image and helping them reach their full potential. The AAC team focuses on all facets of the student-athlete’s college career and most importantly, their future. In addition to giving the student-athlete an opportunity to give back and further accelerate his/her potential, we hope to show how one person can make a difference at their individual level, whether they are a star athlete or any member of our community.
About Children’s Safety Center of Washington County
The Children’s Safety Center of Washington County is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1997 and is based on the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) model. Our goal is to facilitate more effective prevention, detection, investigation, and treatment of child abuse. By bringing together teams of professionals and vital resources, we work to ensure that the best interests of these child victims are being served. The first child advocacy center in our area, the Children’s Safety Center was created to help prevent further trauma these children might endure during the complex process of investigation, prosecution, and treatments.
About The Jones Center
The region’s largest resource for low or no-cost accessibility to youth and family recreation and sports programing, The Jones Center is a treasured destination centrally located in the Northwest Arkansas region. This 220,000 square-foot facility in Springdale includes an indoor gymnasium, the Tyson Foods Fitness Center, indoor pools complex and the region’s only indoor ice arena. The Jones Center was founded in 1995 by Bernice Jones, a former schoolteacher and wife of Harvey Jones, founder of Jones Truck Lines. Her wish was that The Jones Center would always remain accessible to the community and that no one would be turned away due to lack of funds. Through the generous support of the Walmart Foundation, The Jones Center is able to provide scholarship program and activity pass to deserving families.
About Samaritan Community Center
Samaritan Community Center, a local nonprofit organization in Rogers and Springdale, serves the hurting and hungry of Northwest Arkansas with wraparound services. During 2021, the SCC provided 85,000 persons with emergency food assistance, served 90,000 meals, and distributed 200,000 snackpacks to at-risk children through their nutritional programs. Their Samaritan Care program assisted over 1,200 families with resource referrals, rent/utility assistance, and case management. Their charitable dental clinic provided over $500,000 in free dental care to uninsured, low-income adults. They operate two thrift stores in Rogers and Springdale which provide 33% of the operational support for the organization.