Issaquah Press – December 7, 2005
By David Hayes

Qwest Communications International recently presented one of its 2005 Qwest Spirit Awards to Athletes For Kids.

The Sammamish-based non-profit received a $10,000 donation from Qwest.

The Qwest Spirit Award recognized an outstanding Washington nonprofit organization that has made an extraordinary impact in the state of Washington, as well as a Qwest employee volunteer who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the community.

Athletes For Kids matches high-school athletes with younger kids who have disabilities or are in need of a role model. The program has grown exponentially since it debuted in 2002.

President and co-founder Ken Moscaret said the program began at Skyline High School with just six athletes. Now there are 30 to 40 athletes involved in three chapters, including ones a Issaquah and Eastlake high schools.

Moscaret said the $10,000 grant would be used to expand the program into Liberty and Eastside Catholic high schools, where he hopes to add another 10 to 20 athlete volunteers.

“Most of these kids are star athletes too,” Moscaret said. “Many are all-state and all-conference in their perspective sports, including a lot of football players.”

The athletes help the youth they’re match with on scholastic and social skills, opening a world of experience and discovery.

“We are excited to honor Athletes For Kids as the 2005 Qwest Spirit Award winner,” said Kirk Nelson, Qwest president for Washington, in a prepared statement. “Athletes For Kids help disabled youth find the joys of friendship as well as social and academic acheivement. We’re excited to help fund this program as it continues to expend into other schools, helping more youth throughout Washington state.”

The 2005 Qwest spirit Award winners were recognized for their service by 67,000 fans during halftime of the No. 13 NFL football game between the St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks.

Moscaret added that the Athletes For Kids organization regularly worked with Qwest over the years, receiving smaller grants. But this award was unexpected.

“We were thrilled,” he said. “The Qwest support the last couple of years has been very generous. But the sprit Award came as a surprise. I didn’t know it was coming.”

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