AMES, Iowa — With the flick of his wrist Gabe Kalscheur can ignite a crowd of thousands.
“They just love me no matter what. Through the ups and downs of my season and good times and bad times,” said the Iowa State University senior student-athlete.
Helping lead ISU to a Sweet 16 run in the Men’s NCAA Tournament many would find it possible that the Minnesota native was in line for major Name, Image and Likeness deals.
“It’s wild. There’s a lot of money being thrown out,” Kalscheur said.
Instead, President and CEO of Youth and Shelter Services Andrew Allen says Gabe’s focus this offseason has been using his platform to give back. Kalscheur is the inaugural volunteer ambassador for the Ames non-profit.
“Many of the kids YSS serves are really struggling with anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation,” Allen said.
Gabe’s success isn’t being used for cash in return. The youth that the partnership is serving are cashing in on lifelong lessons through counseling, mentoring, addiction services and most importantly, for Gabe, mental health guidance.
“Life is really hard. There’s a lot of ups and downs. Talking with people and reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength actually,” said Kalscheur.
Gabe has spent countless hours meeting with kids across the state reiterating the importance behind the saying ‘it’s ok to not feel ok’, when it comes to your mental health.
“I’ve gone through mental health situations through basketball last year and the year before that. It’s something I connect with.”
Gabe hopes one day the talents fans see inside Hilton Coliseum can lead to an NBA contract. While Name, Image and Likeness could soon become a billion-dollar industry, if not already, the Cyclone senior says the money will come, but using his platform to help a young kid through mental health right now is priceless.
“I have the platform I can use. With that platform it’s not about the money it is about giving, showing love and having fun with it,” Kalscheur said.
It is an impact in the community that goes much deeper than any three.
Allen said, “He sat down and had dinner with our kids at YSS. He’s asked them questions and taken an interest in their lives and encouraged them in a way that will be memorable not just now, but in the future.”