Blueprint for Doing Good

The Hub: Competitor

Story and images by Matt Van Winkle

Environmental headshot photo of Gabe Kalscheur in the gym.

Gabe Kalscheur working with kids on their basketball skills.

For as long as he can remember, Gabe Kalscheur has looked up to one person. “That’s my mom,” he says.

The Iowa State senior majoring in management and entrepreneurship has memories of watching his mom play “streetball” in downtown Minneapolis. “I remember watching her cook other young women on the concrete,” he recalls. “I was like, ‘wow, she can do that? I kind of want to be in her shoes.’”

Last season, Kalscheur led the Cyclones to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. As the guard’s recognition grew, so did his reputation in the Ames community. This past summer, Kalscheur was asked to become the first ambassador for Youth and Shelter Services (YSS). He works at the local YSS youth shelter and residential treatment facilities, talking with young people, making appearances at fundraisers and events, and even shooting hoops with the kids when he gets a chance.

In 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that NCAA student athletes could profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Kalscheur received some initial compensation for his work with YSS from the We Will Collective, a nonprofit that helps athletes use their NIL to give back to charities and others in need. He was inspired to continue his service without further compensation.

“I know they see me as a basketball player, but I also want them to see me as a person, too,” he says. “I’m here to brighten up their day, because what they’re going through is very isolating.”

Kalscheur hopes he can be someone youth look up to and is using his platform to influence others and leave a blueprint for doing good. “If I can take time in my day to open up and give my time to others that are in need, I feel like I’m living in God’s glory and in God’s word.”