Carson --- A contingent from nearly all CAL STATE DOMINGUEZ HILLS athletic teams made its annual visit to the Harbor-UCLA Hospital earlier this month and received much more in return than the dozens of presents they brought to the hospital’s children.
Welcomed by Cristie Suzukawa, Director of Child Life Services at Harbor-UCLA, and her staff, the Toros spent an hour and a half at the hospital, visiting nearly 60 children on two separate floors.
Accompanied by CSUDH Athletics Director-turned Toro
mascot Patrick Guillenand CSUDH Assistant
Athletics Director Lamel Harris, the
student-athletes went door-to-door to visit and hand out both
presents and holiday cheer to the children, their families and
hospital staff who monitored their condition around the
“I think this has been my best day as CSUDH
Athletics Director,” said a soaked Guillen, who spent most of
the evening donned in the mascot uniform. “Being able to see
the development and maturity process of our students is exactly why
I am in this business, and seeing the reaction of both our
student-athletes and the children we visited was so worthwhile, and
I know everyone involved will never forget tonight’s
The 12 student-athletes were split up into two groups, with each taking turns playing the role of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Baseball’s Chris Abbott, Brandon Hayesand Kelvin Kondo, men’s soccer’s Derby Carrillo, Alberto Garcia and Jesse Graham, softball’s Homa Houshmand-Shafii, track and field’s Kelly Corral andValarie Tucker, volleyball’s Travette Pettigrew and Caitlin Williams, and women’s soccer’s Monique Castro, who also serves as president of this year’s Toro Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), each hand-delivered multiple presents to children ranging from infants to teenagers.
The group also was greeted by Dr. K. Renee Roberts, an
instructor in CSUDH’s College of Education as well as a
developmental specialist in the division of neonatology at
Harbor-UCLA, who gave the Toros a tour of the hospital’s
neonatal unit, where the student-athletes saw premature babies in
incubators and infants afflicted with various
“I was really pleased with our student-athletes and the effort they made for tonight’s visit” said Harris, who spearheads this annual outing. “I knew the children we brought presents to would be happy, but to see the faces of our kids and the genuine caring they all displayed just added to the holiday joy we tried to bring. I couldn’t be more proud.”
-- CSUDH Sports Information