USD Athletics Player Mentor Programs

The USD Athletics Mentor Programs pairs individuals with autism and their siblings with University of San Diego Football & Baseball Players for one-on-one mentoring and relationship building, and Autism Tree families are invited to attend and cheer on the USD Toreros at home games throughout the season.

These programs are recognized as the model charity within the USD Athletic Department. The USD Football Player Mentor Program launched in 2008 with 35 football players. Their passion and commitment to these children's lives has led us to nearly 100% participation from the entire football team of over 95 football players. The USD Baseball Player Mentor Program launched in 2009, with 100% participation of the baseball players.

The USD Toreros football and baseball teams have been active in autism advocacy in San Diego, mentoring Autism Tree kids, inviting our families to Toreros games/events and raising awareness in the community. The Toreros host Autism Tree families at every home game, where the kids get to cheer on their players during the game and throw and catch footballs or baseballs with the players post game. The relationships formed between the children and their players are truly awe-inspiring and last far beyond the field and the player's graduation from USD.

The USD Football Player Mentor Program takes place annually in the Fall, and USD Baseball Player Mentor Program takes place annually in the Spring.

USD Football & Baseball Players are paired with Autism Tree kids and become "big brothers" to our children and families.  Since 2008, this program has served more than 1,300 Autism Tree families to date!

"Thank you for hosting the USD football mentorship program! We love the work you guys do are so grateful for this program. You guys are amazing!" - Kristin Springborn

"My son Pablo Tager plays football at USD and has loved working with the kids from this organization." - Paola Bellesca

"Working with Autism Tree as a USD Football player was one of the most rewarding things I have done and I am so happy to still have a chance to be involved in this wonderful organization!" - Cody Tescher

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