Georgia State Athletics hosted Big Brothers Big Sisters for a carnival Saturday at Panthersville as nearly 1,500 Big and Little Brothers and Sisters turned out for fun and games before the Panthers' men's soccer victory over Presbyterian.

Student-athletes from all sports volunteered their time to mix and mingle with the children, who enjoyed games and autographs.

"This was a fantastic turnout and truly an extraordinary effort by Georgia State," said Janice McKenzie-Crayton, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

"The Georgia State student-athlets were fantastic in working with these young people - engaged and enthusiastic."

"We know that we are fortunate to be Georgia State student-athletes, and it's important that we give to the community," said Georgia State basketball standout Leonard Mendez, who signed autographs with his teammates. "It's great to be able to meet these kids and hopefully inspire them to have goals and work toward them."

In addition to an afternoon of fun, the partnership with Georgia State and Big Brothers Big Sisters is designed to promote education among the young people.

"It's important to start mentoring these young people toward college at an early age," said McKenzie-Crayton. "We want these kids to start thinking about what it means to go to college. They have strong role models in their Big Brothers and Big Sisters, but it's great for them to see other role models they can emulate, and that's what these Georgia State student-athletes are.

"We are so pleased to be building this relationship with Georgia State, and we look forward to many more events like this."