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Press Release

10/26/2006 12:24 PM ET
Major League Baseball players and Volunteers of America team up to launch national youth volunteer initiative

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust today announced the launch of the Action Team, a national youth volunteer initiative created to inspire and train the next generation of volunteers. Administered by Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the Action Team initiative was created to encourage youth 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 Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland (Maine), San Francisco and Seattle, to encourage youth to get involved in their communities by volunteering.

“It is an honor to work with the Major League Baseball Players Trust to encourage youth across America to volunteer in their communities,” said Charles Gould, national president and chief executive officer of Volunteers of America. “We are delighted to have the Players Trust on our team.”

Prior to today’s launch as a national initiative, the Action Team concept was tested and developed in select locations beginning in 2003. To date, Action Teams in the pilot program have inspired over 5,000 youth to volunteer, assisting over 31,000 people in need through Volunteers of America’s programs that serve at-risk children and youth, the elderly, people with disabilities, homeless individuals and families, and many others.

“The Action Teams are proving to people everywhere that you don’t have to be a celebrity to have a positive impact on someone’s life or to make a difference in your community,” said Eric Chavez of the Oakland Athletics. “All Major Leaguers are thrilled to be working with Volunteers of America and high school students across the country to help inspire youth to get involved helping the needy. Together, we’re committed to increasing the level of volunteerism among our nation’s youth.”

Action Teams are working together to communicate the importance of community involvement. The high school Team Captains record volunteer-themed videos with local Major Leaguers and make presentations to their peers in an effort to recruit other youth to work with Volunteers of America on volunteer projects. Projects have included sorting and distributing donated books; reading to children and assisting teachers in day care and Head Start programs; serving meals at homeless shelters and senior centers; working at activities and events at affordable housing facilities; collecting food, clothing, and gifts; and hosting holiday activities.

Currently, Major League baseball players involved with the Action Teams include: Alex Cora, David Ortiz and Jason Varitek of the Boston Red Sox; Mark Teixeira, Gary Matthews Jr., and Michael Young of the Texas Rangers; Jason Jennings and Cory Sullivan of the Colorado Rockies; Curtis Granderson and Nate Robertson of the Detroit Tigers; Lew Ford and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins; Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd of the New York Mets; Eric Chavez, Mark Kotsay and Huston Street of the Oakland Athletics; Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Randy Wolf of the Philadelphia Phillies; Matt Morris and Randy Winn of the San Francisco Giants; and Raul Ibanez, Joel Pineiro and J. J. Putz of the Seattle Mariners.

The Action Team initiative is sponsored, in part, by TD Banknorth and a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.

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. For more information about the Major League Baseball Players Trust, visit 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 www.VolunteersofAmerica.org.