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Alex Cora, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and the Maine Action Team Step Up to the Plate for Disadvantaged Children in Portland

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2007-05-16 07:57:45     
Volunteers of America

High School student leaders from the Maine Action Team youth volunteer corps today accompanied 14 elementary and middle school students from Bristol Elementary School, Bristol Consolidated School, and Brewer, Mahoney and Wiscasset middle schools in Portland on a bus trip to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. The high school student leaders served as mentors to the younger students to highlight the need for positive enrichment programs for disadvantaged children and youth. When the students arrived at the ballpark, they were welcomed by Action Team players Alex Cora, David Ortiz and Jason Varitek of the Boston Red Sox. The elementary and middle school students were chosen to attend the trip as part of an essay contest, and the trip marks the first time that many of the young students have ever left the state of Maine or attended a Red Sox game.

"The reason that I want to go to this game is because ... baseball is the only sport that I mostly understand," wrote one of the essay contest winners from Mahoney Middle School. "I love to go to baseball games but I don't get to go to any because my mom has two jobs and even if I could go my mom wouldn't because she is too tired and needs to sleep."

The trip was part of the Major League Baseball Players Trust's Buses for Baseball program that gives underprivileged children and youth throughout the United States and Canada the chance to attend a Major League game and meet the players. At each ballpark, the children and youth are welcomed by players who spend time signing autographs, giving away souvenirs and posing for photographs. Complimentary food and soft drinks during the game -- and often the chance to see their own faces on the Jumbotron -- provide lasting memories before the bus heads home.

Administered by Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the Action Team program was created to encourage young people throughout the United States to volunteer in their communities. Action Teams, consisting of Major League baseball players and area high school student Team Captains, are working together in Portland (Maine), Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York City, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle. Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust are planning to expand the Action Team program to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Houston and Mobile during the 2007-08 school year. To date, Action Teams across the country have inspired more than 9,000 high school students to help over 38,000 people in need by volunteering in their communities.

The Action Team program in Maine is made possible through generous grants from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and TD Banknorth. As part of the trip, the Action Team leaders will be recognized by the Red Sox on the field before the game for their volunteer work in their communities.

The Major League Baseball Players Trust partnered with Volunteers of America in 2002 to promote the nurturing and well-being of America's children and their families. The partnership features the personal involvement of Major League baseball players and their families with a variety of programs conducted by Volunteers of America throughout the United States. Also, together they administer the Action Team, a national youth volunteer initiative currently inspiring the next generation of volunteers in Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland (ME), San Francisco and Seattle. For more information about the Major League Baseball Players Trust, visit http://www.MLBPLAYERS.com.

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Through thousands of human service programs, including housing and healthcare, Volunteers of America helps nearly 2 million people in over 400 communities. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Our work touches the mind, body, heart-and ultimately the spirit-of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services. For more information about Volunteers of America, visit http://www.VolunteersofAmerica.org.

Specialized in: Alex Cora - David Ortiz - Jason Varitek - Maine Action Team
URL: http://www.voa.org
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