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Grad Student Discusses The Benefits Of Giving

April 29, 2011
By: Ryan Bradford

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Graduate student Ryan Bradford, center, recently spent the evening as a "reporter" for the Houston Rockets and CBS Sports Radio 610. With Bradford are Dan Matthews (left) and Shaun Bijoni (right), both reporters from CBS Sports Radio 610. —Submitted photo.

What is the true definition of a gift? Many of us would define it as something that is received on a special occasion, as with a birthday or Valentine’s Day, but I define the meaning of a gift in a different aspect. I see a gift as something that you have or can acquire that can be used to help, guide, and inspire others to achieve success. I’ve learned that giving in unique ways not only opens up opportunities for others, but for you as well.

While receiving a degree in advertising and graphic design from SHSU in the fall of 2008 and becoming a graduate student in the university’s astounding sport management program, I have been fortunate to give such gifts to various individuals, organizations and communities by donating financially, through non-profit designing, and through the field of sports.

Recently, I was given an opportunity by the Houston Rockets and CBS Sports Radio 610 to become a reporter for a night by contributing a generous donation to the Greater Houston Boys & Girls Club and S.N.A.P (Spay-Neuter Assistance Program) through the Rockets organization. Not only was I able to support a great cause, but also got a tremendous up-close-and-personal experience with Rockets players and executives who shed some light on many areas in sport management along with vital information on ways to succeed in life.

Throughout the evening, I was introduced to what seemed like everyone involved in the organization. From security personnel checking bags as you entered Toyota Center, to players, media, and executive staff conversing in the locker room. I was quite surprised by the atmosphere of being able to easily approach and strike up conversation with everyone. It was interesting to see how genuine players and staff members were as they introduced themselves and took an interest in some of the things I was involved in.

One of the biggest and maybe the most important question of the night that I had was what are some of the ways that you achieve success off the basketball court? The top answer I received was finding ways to give back, whether it’s to the community, certain charities or organizations, or individuals that are less fortunate. After all, these are individuals that you will gain your biggest support from other than your family and closest friends.

It doesn’t matter how much you give financially, or how many hours you dedicate to community service, because even the slightest amount donated has the potential to open up a door of opportunity for someone else. There is no feeling in comparison like someone who approaches and thanks you for your help and support that has in turn, given them a lifetime of inspiration or opened up a door for them to succeed.

It was very assuring to know that I was on the right track. Recently becoming a Life Member of the SHSU Alumni Association and frequently giving to organizations such as the Beatrice Jones and NMSJ2 Memorial Scholarships that support the advancement of education, the Jimmy V Foundation whose proceeds go toward cancer research, and various non-profit design creations for local high schools, diverse individuals, and organizations, gives me a chance to open doors for others as they were opened for me. Through this experience, I’ve realized that by giving a little, you can gain a lot.



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