YSU quarterback partners with Rich Center

Submitted photo Youngstown State University quarterback Mitch Davidson shows off his custom cleats with Rich Center high school 3 student Michael Fuller.

Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State University quarterback Mitch Davidson is the first student-athlete ambassador for the Rich Center for Autism.

Davidson entered a partnership with The Friends of the Rich Center just as the 2023 college football season is getting underway.

Through efforts made by donors to the Friends, a nonprofit that aims to raise funds, promote and support the center, collaboration with Davidson is able to take place.

He’s already been making visits to The Rich Center, meeting with students and staff, and during pre-game warm-up has worn custom designed cleats featuring his number 14, “Rich Center For Autism” and the words “Treatment, Education and Research” painted on the sides.

Andy Clutter, president of The Friends of the Rich Center for Autism, described the importance of making this relationship happen.

“As a captain of the football team and a leader on campus, we know Mitch will make an impact not only in promoting our school, but also with our students directly, as he has already proven in his visits to the Rich Center,” Clutter said.

Mike Latessa, interim executive director of The Rich Center for Autism and former student-athlete at YSU, added: “The campus community is vital to us and the support shown to us from YSU Athletics through our extended partnership has made a tremendous impact to our center. Due to the generosity of donors to our Friends board, we are excited to launch the student-athlete ambassador program and Mitch is the perfect person for this.”

Davidson said he is looking forward to working with the center to help create awareness of the importance of treatment, education and research for those affected by autism.

“I hope that my efforts help increase awareness and provide support to those who need it. I believe in this and I can’t wait to see where this partnership takes us,” he said.

The Rich Center for Autism was established in 1995 through the collaborative efforts of the Kosar, Rich (Ricchiuti), and Rubino families who have a shared interest in autism. The Rich Center for Autism, a component of the Youngstown State University Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, & Education, fulfills the mission to prepare educators, medical specialists and other professionals in best practices for teaching and caring for those on the autism spectrum; to increase knowledge base through the promotion of scholarly research; and to provide public service and advocacy on behalf of those affected by autism.

The Rich Center for Autism has no geographic boundary and accepts children of all socio-economic backgrounds and cultures. Children are enrolled in the programs regardless of their caregivers’ ability to pay. Referral, treatment, and support are provided at no cost to families.




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