COSTA MESA, Calif. – The Vanguard University Student-Athlete Discipleship Group, mentored by athletic chaplain Ali Malaekeh, hosted a Christmas Outreach for the Vanguard Veteran's Club and the veteran's families on Saturday, December 15th. Approximately 30 veterans and their families attended the event.


The outreach began in The Pit, where a number of Lions' athletes volunteered their time to play with the veteran's children while athletics' staff members and the veteran's group were able to get to know each other.

After the open gym, the event moved to Vanguard's Great Commission Hall where pizza and treats were served.

Santa Claus made an appearance and distributed Christmas goodies and gifts to all of the children in attendance. Santa's elves appeared in the form of sophomore volleyball players Carly Maxwell and Morgan Burt as well as soccer's Allie Okida who did all of the gift shopping, wrapping, baking and set-up. Many other VU student-athletes from a variety of Blue and Gold teams were also instrumental in helping the day to run smoothly.

The VU Student-Athlete Discipleship Group fundraised to make the event possible. A special thanks goes out to everyone who made the Christmas outreach such a success. Vanguard Athletics is especially grateful to the United States military for ensuring our country's safety and freedom and would like to express sincere gratitude to its members for their great sacrifice.

"Our athletes thought this event would be a great way to say thank you to the families of the men and women who serve our country," Malaekeh said. "These men and women risk their lives so we can have the freedoms that we enjoy and this event was a small way to say thank you and celebrate Jesus' birth in community with them.  We partnered with Gabriel Corona from the VU Veteran's Club to get the event off of the ground. Through generous donations from coaches and athletes we were able to get gifts for the veteran's children. I feel that the whole day was a success and we hope to be able to partner with the VU Veteran's Club in the future." 

For more information or if you are interested in donating to upcoming events sponsored by the Discipleship Group, please contact Ali Malaekeh.