Pint-sized neon green, vibrant red and banana yellow t-shirts swarmed Old Main Lawn on sunny Wednesday afternoon as part of the annual Children's Day at this year's Arts Fest.
Taking in various booths that included making homemade swords and shields, kites and science projects, kids and their parents also had an opportunity to meet Penn State football players and make posters for this weekend's 12th Annual Lift for Life event.
Pulling posters and signing autographs for little kids filing past Uplifting Athletes' card table, Nittany Lion sophomore tight end Adam Breneman said he couldn't be happier than to pose for pictures and spend time with the people that make up Penn State's robust fan base.
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"It's sort of what Penn State is all about. You give back to the community," he said. "We have so many fans, we have so much support from little kids to old men, old adults and alumni. Just to meet them and hear their stories… It's just neat stories like that and just give back and meet the kind of people that come out to the games to support us."
Flanked by fellow Nittany Lion Garrett Sickels, Breneman and his teammates manned the table from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon to kick off a week's worth of appearances leading up to Saturday's big fundraising event. Followed by a State College Spikes "Uplifting Athletes Night" on Friday, a portion of which tickets sold will be donated to the cause raising money for the Kidney Cancer Association, Penn State football's biggest charitable effort will culminate in the Lift for Life event Saturday at the Penn State Lacrosse Field from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With Penn State Uplifting Athletes president Ben Kline leading the way, Breneman praised the new and creative ways the organization has evolved through the years, including the plan for two kids clinics led by Penn State players from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
"It's been awesome. Just working with Ben Kline as the president of Uplifting Athletes at Penn State, he's done such a good job of coming up with these new ideas and ways to - instead of just a lift, getting the fans to be able to come out, have little kids there like this, just doing things all week to make it a big event and being able to give back and, at the same time, raising millions of dollars for kidney cancer awareness," he said. "It's good and so much fun to work with Ben Kline. He's doing such a great job. We're going to break a million dollars this year in funds raised for kidney cancer research."
As Breneman noted, through private charitable donations and a $10 donation collected for each adult attending Saturday's event plus a $10 fee for children participating in the player-led clinics, total donations for the effort are anticipated to eclipse $1 million total over 12 years this weekend.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with children, just 19-years old himself, Breneman said he appreciates the opportunity this week's events afford the team.
"It's fun. I love working with little kids. I remember when I was little, when I was watching Penn State football and loved all the football players," he said. "If I was a little kid and got to meet some football players, I would love the whole day just because of it. It's just good to give back and make a kid's day like that.
"You don't even realize it. My dad always said to me that you don't realize how many kids would love to be in your situation. You take it for granted. It's very humbling to come out here and see that so many kids want to meet you and take pictures with you. Just hearing all the stories of the different families and the Penn State alumni, it's a great experience."
For information on donating to Uplifting Athletes, click here