Irish Around the Bend Mission & History
The Fighting Irish players and coaches are committed to giving back and making a difference in the lives of others – from elementary students to senior citizens. They want to proactively engage with the community.
Speaking at events, helping with service projects or signing autographs, Irish Around The Bend knows no bounds. The program aims to positively impact any group in the community that seeks Notre Dame’s support. Hospitals, elementary schools, youth leagues, church groups – there is hardly a group the Irish will not make an effort to visit or an event they will not participate in, so long as it is within NCAA compliance guidelines.
Irish Around the Bend centers around three of head coach Brian Kelly’s Five Pillars for Notre Dame Football – intellectual, spiritual and social. The Fighting Irish also work closely with associate athletic director Mike Harrity to support the events within the Student Welfare & Development office.
Irish Around the Bend is about being other-centered. It’s reaching out. It’s helping the community. It’s making a difference in someone else’s life.
It’s about student-athletes developing into well-rounded individuals. It’s about the love and care in one’s heart to do for others. And it’s about the players and coaches in the Notre Dame football program doing anything they can to better the lives of those around them.
News & Recent Events
2015 Shop with a Player
December, 2015. The Notre Dame Football Program and Kelly Cares have partnered for several years to offer the opportunity to local youth to Shop-With-A-Player as Christmas approaches. This is an incredibly rewarding event for the players and kids involved! Representatives from Notre Dame Security Police and the Indiana State Police choose a deserving local school district each year to reward with a field trip to Notre Dame. The kids have no idea why they are going to Notre Dame, just that they are going for a program. The kids are ushered into the team meeting room and get quite a thrill when Coach Brian Kelly enters to greet them to campus. Coach goes on to explain that, with Christmas coming they should do some shopping and they probably need some help. Enter the Notre Dame Football Players and the excitement and amazement in the kid’s eyes is priceless as they get partnered up with a current football player. On buses, donated by Royal Excursion, a full police unit escorts the team and kids to Meijer where Kelly Cares Foundation issues each of the 115 kids a $100 gift card to go do some shopping! At times its hard to tell who is having more fun between the kids or the players. Following the shopping spree, the group heads lunch. Papa Vino’s Italian Kitchen, graciously donates the meals for the kids and serves all the food the group can eat! This incredible event, born of Coach Brian & Paqui Kelly’s tremendous generosity provides some magical moments as the spirit of Christmas is strengthened for some very deserving area kids.
Fiesta bowl FCA Breakfast
December, 2015. The University of Notre Dame and Notre Dame Football attract attention across country and around the world. The attention is well-deserved, but for the players on the football team it’s not a one-way street. The team had a chance to support some great causes while in Arizona at the Fiesta Bowl this past December. Malik Zaire was a featured speaker at the Fiesta Bowl Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Annual Breakfast in front of more than 1,400 people including 21 fellow teammates. Malik, very candidly, spoke about understanding that God has a plan for us all regardless of what we believe to be should happen. With great passion and eloquence, Malik explained how he came to this realization as he dealt with injury this season. As always, Notre Dame fans can be proud of the way Malik and his teammates represented the program and the University in front of a great crowd!
FIESTA BOWL BUILD-A-BED
December, 2015. Notre Dame Football Players know a thing or two about community service opportunities involving escorting some kids on shopping trips! The Tempe IKEA provided a great venue for our players to spend a little time with some deserving kids and their families at the Fiesta Bowl Build-A-Bed Event. The Save the Family organization has helped many families find housing and provide a stable home life and IKEA chipped in to help provide some kids with their first ever bed! Twenty Notre Dame Football Players were paired with kids to help them pick out some bedding materials and then, quite frankly, build a bed! It turns out that some guy s are a little handier than others, but they all did a great job using their free time to make some dreams come true in Arizona!