The Mike Peterson Foundation Helps Students in Alachua County

The Mike Peterson Foundation continues to positively impact Alachua County through the efforts of Gator Nation.

Gator great Mike Peterson is back home at Gainesville under a new title; assistant coach of the outside linebackers.  Since returning, he has been making moves off the football field through the Mike Peterson Foundation. Peterson has always had a passion for helping out his community. He planned an event to benefit the students at Lake Forest Elementary this Monday with the assistance of his family, the wives of the coaches and the Gator women’s basketball team.

“Alachua County, this is home to me. They supported and raised me over the years, and this is one of the minor things I can do to give back to a place that raised me and supported me,” said Peterson.

The Mike Peterson Foundation donated school supplies, book bags and undergarments to over 330 students.

Many coaches’ wives were in attendance, including Billy Napier’s wife, Ali Napier.  When Ali Napier, mother of three, heard of this community service opportunity, she was immediately on board.

“Alachua County is such a huge supporter of the Florida Gators, and we want to support them right back. We want them to know we are here to help them however we can be of service,” said Napier.

Napier helps pass out undergarments with Gator women basketball players Zippy Broughton and Taliyah Wyche.

Gator Women’s Basketball Team Involvement

This summer, the Gator women’s basketball team has been involved in various community service organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics. Head coach Kelly Rae Finley shared how giving back to the Gator community is a significant part of the team’s identity.

“It’s really important to be positive role models for people in the community,” said Finley.

Pictured: Chantal Peterson, Ali Napier and Kelly Rae Finley

For example, New transfer Kirsten “KK” Deans emphasized how giving back is essential for her and her teammates.

“Giving back means everything to us. We work hard every day and are fortunate to be in the position we are in. So giving back any chance we get really means a lot. They love us, and the energy and love they give feed off and make everything worth it,” said Deans.

Pictured: Kirsten “KK” Deans and Alberte Rimdal

In conclusion, the event was a success, as it left smiles on the faces of excited children and parents.

The Mike Peterson Foundation shows has no signs of slowing down as this foundation has been around for 18 years. Peterson’s wife, Chantal, and two sons, Mike Peterson Jr., and Gavin Peterson, plan to continue the Peterson legacy of positively impacting the underprivileged community.

“It’s always good to give back to the people who are less fortunate than us, and I know my dad is big on doing that, so I make sure that I grow up the same way,” Peterson Jr. stated proudly.


About Cristina Santiago

Cristina Santiago is a senior at the University of Florida studying journalism with a concentration in sports and media.

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