Currently pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, Clifford “Cliff” Kigar balances his academic pursuits with volunteer work. In addition to participating in JDRF One Walk events to end type 1 diabetes, Cliff Kigar has volunteered with Everybody WINS!, a local program that involves reading to elementary-school children on a weekly basis.
Operated by the Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County, Everybody WINS! recognizes that reading skills are critical to academic success. To help cultivate a love of reading in young people, the program partners elementary-age children with reading adults from local businesses and the wider community. Mentors meet with children one-on-one once a week, providing tutoring in reading, as well as general mentoring. According to corporate partners, employees who participate in the program report an improved sense of morale compared to non-volunteering employees.
For more information about volunteer opportunities with the Literary Volunteers of Rensselaer County, visit www.lvorc.org.
Clifford “Cliff” Kigar has studied mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) since 2015. In addition to his studies, Cliff Kigar engages with charitable organizations, such as Lacrosse the Nations.
Established in 2008 by Brett Hughes and Brad Corrigan, Lacrosse the Nations (LtN) is a youth-oriented not-for-profit operating on a global scale. The organization seeks to provide in-need children with educational support and physical activities designed to promote healthy living and keep students engaged at school. LtN programming, which includes locations in Managua, Nicaragua, and Charlottesville, Virginia, has been designed to incentivize children in a number of ways.
To begin, programming is offered both in school as a physical education (PE) class, and as an after-school program. This allows the organization to not only reach students who have other commitments following their school day, but to also reach local student-age children who do not attend classes. All children are welcomed by LtN, after which representatives invite kids to start taking classes and joining one of the school’s lacrosse teams.
The organization also promotes monthly field trips, including regular trips to a sports complex just outside Managua. These opportunities and other incentives have helped LtN strengthen student enrollment and engagement around the world.
A 2015 All-American Athlete, Clifford “Cliff” Kigar is a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute mechanical engineering student who now plays as a forward for the Ohio Collegiate Box Lacrosse League (OCBLL) team the Aviators. Cliff Kigar was selected alongside seven other athletes to play for the Aviators in the OCBLL’s inaugural draft this past June.
The USBOXLA only just announced in 2017 that the OCBLL would be the second league in the National Collegiate Box series of lacrosse. Prior to the inaugural player combine and draft, the USBOXLA selected head coaches for the four teams of the league, with Dominique Alexander named to lead the Aviators in their first-ever season. Mr. Alexander, a major league lacrosse player for the Ohio Machine, has gained coaching experience through his involvement with the Resolute Lacrosse program.
With coaches appointed the week prior, the inaugural draft began with the Aviators’ taking the first overall pick, selecting Landon Trout from Bellarmine University to play the position of forward. The Aviators’ second and third round picks also went to forwards: Hunter Barco from Ohio State and CJ Hughes from Capital University respectively. In total, the draft lasted eight rounds, adding three defensemen, four attackmen, and one goalie to the new team’s roster.
Clifford Kigar, an All-American lacrosse player, enrolled at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a mechanical engineering major in 2015. Following a successful high school athletic career, Cliff Kigar has continued to play lacrosse for RPI.
As an RPI freshman, Kigar played 11 games as an attack, despite receiving All-American honors in high school as a midfielder. From the attack position, he scored six goals and assisted on another score. He also impacted the game by picking up six ground balls and forcing a turnover on the defensive end.
Cliff Kigar’s sophomore campaign saw a considerable increase in activity. He got his first three starts as a college player over the course of the 2017 season, during which time he logged 10 goals, including five man-up goals, and a half-dozen assists. He doubled or nearly doubled his production in key areas, picking up 13 ground balls and upping his shots on goal from 12 to 21. Expectations will be high entering the attack’s junior year, thanks in part to a pair of 2017 outings in which he scored three goals and dished an assist.
A former US Lacrosse All American and an alumnus of Olentangy High School, Cliff Kigar has received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence. At present, Clifford Kigar is enrolled in a mechanical engineering program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Moreover, Cliff Kigar supports Lacrosse the Nations.
Lacrosse the Nations (LtN) seeks to unify the lacrosse community with the goal of enhancing the health and education of children in need while offering them opportunities and hope. The nonprofit organization subscribes to the four core values outlined below.
Unity is the first core value. The organization connects the lacrosse community of the United States to communities in need within the country and internationally. Moreover, it relies on lacrosse community members to serve as “ambassadors of hope” to people in need.
Education and health constitute the second core value. The organization has adopted a focus on health and education, which are interconnected. It works with schools to educate students on the value of education, self-esteem, and health and the basics of nutrition. Its goals include boosting enrollment, improving attendance, and enhancing the rate of graduation.
Sustainability, the third core value, refers to LtN’s investment in the empowerment of local communities and establishment and monitoring of sustainable programs. Community leaders undergo training to help them manage the programs.
Hope and opportunity constitute the fourth core value. The organization mentors children, offering them lessons in life skills and character on the field as well as off the field.
Clifford Kigar is a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) as well as the coach of an elite lacrosse team in Columbus, Ohio. A former US Lacrosse All-American, Cliff Kigar also plays on the varsity lacrosse team at RPI. Cliff Kigar participates with his team in various fundraisers for charities, such as a recent tournament to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is an international nonprofit dedicated to assisting members of the military, both active and veteran, who have incurred an injury while in the line of duty. Prompted by the tragic events of the 9/11 terror attack, the charity was founded in 2003 to assist with the growing number of veterans who had been injured, either mentally or physically, during their service.
The organization has many programs and fundraisers in place but relies largely on local support, such as RPI’s lacrosse tournament fundraiser. An annual event, the “Face Off For A Cause” held at Rensselaer raised over $25,000 in 2016 and included seven collegiate teams from the area in a round-robin elimination tournament. The Wounded Warrior Project encourages athletes to actively search out these community-sponsored opportunities to support the organization.
Currently pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cliff Kigar plays on the school’s varsity lacrosse team. To give back to the Troy, New York, community, Cliff Kigar participates in Everybody WINS!, a program that involves reading to and mentoring local elementary school children on a weekly basis. The program is operated by Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County.
Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County aim to empower children and communities through education, offering programs that focus on literacy, citizenship, and civic responsibility. The Everybody WINS! mentoring program strives to foster a love of reading in elementary-school-age children by matching them with reading adults.
One-on-one weekly lunches provide the opportunity for students to practice reading and receive general mentoring from community volunteers. According to corporate partners in the Everybody WINS! program, employees who mentor report having a higher sense of morale than employees who do not volunteer.
For information about volunteering with Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County, visit www.lvorc.org.