Administrator

Administrator

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the world of social change, there are several common threads - community, passion, commitment, opportunity, vision, collaboration and many more. But what often gets overlooked are the basic tools to take all of these positive forces and channel them to drive change. Tools for things like fundraising, volunteer recruitment, event management, donor relations and many, many more of the day-to-day functions of running an organization.

 

We recently met the team behind Empowered.org, a new social change platform with an awesome suite of online tools and technology to help nonprofits grow and thrive. Here's a little bit about them...

 

Empowered.org is a community of groups working to create social change, with a mission to "humbly serve grassroots organizations with online solutions to help them grow while perservering their culture."


On the Empowered.org platform, your organization can manage peer-to-peer fundraising, volunteer activities, events, surveys, annual fundraising campaigns, alumni networks, donor relations, and empower each of your chapters or groups to do the same under your oversight.


What enables this transformative approach is the site's ability to integrate an organization at every level (chapters, programs, volunteers, members, events, and fundraising), operating like a growing spider web. Empowered has the unique ability to grow with you from a single group of volunteers in one location to a multi-national organization with hundreds of groups.


We are here to empower and support organizations that have a desire to effectively change the world by spreading their cause.

http://www.empowered.org

 

 

FREE Offer from Empowered.org:
As a partner of SportsandSocialChange.org, Empowered.org has generously offered to provide their platform for FREE for 6 months to registered sports nonprofit programs. Please email Oisin O'Connor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details on how to particpate.


Thank you Empowered.org!


 


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Athletics for Kids

ATHLETICS FOR KIDS

ASSOCIATED SPORTS: All
CAUSES SERVED: Athletics, Children & Youth, Health
AGE GROUPS SERVED: Children & Youth
EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
WEBSITE: http://www.a4k.ca/


Mission Statement
:

To work diligently and thoughtfully in providing financially disadvantaged youth in the community with greater access to organized amateur sport in conjunction with their academic endeavours.

Through sports, children are able to establish a pattern of physical activity that continues on into adulthood, helping to build self-esteem, leadership skills and social skills. With the financial support of A4K, these children can turn their participation in sports into a greater learning tool, where they can discover team-building skills, learn how to cope with failure, increase their confidence and build character.

The support of A4K is available province-wide for children ages 5 to 18 who are currently enrolled in school. Registration fees are paid for any sport recognized by Sport BC, up to an annual maximum of $600 per child (considerably higher than other sport funding charities)

. Through A4K, hundreds of BC children have the opportunity to follow their dreams through sport.

 

Click on the photos below to see a larger image

{slimbox images/stories/a4k.cardblue1.jpg,images/stories/a4k.cardblue1.jpg,A Future Star from Athletics for Kids;images/stories/a4k.cardblue3.jpg,images/stories/a4k.cardblue3.jpg,A Future Star from Athletics for Kids;images/stories/a4k.cardblue6.jpg,images/stories/a4k.cardblue6.jpg,A Future Star from Athletics for Kids;images/stories/a4k.pos4k.jpg,images/stories/a4k.pos4k.jpg,Athletics for Kids receiving $25,000 from the Power of Sport 4 Kids Program;images/stories/a4k.thank-you-kyle2.jpg,images/stories/a4k.thank-you-kyle2.jpg,A Thank You note from a very grateful A4K athlete}

 

INTERVIEW:

Q: Can you briefly describe your organization and its purpose?

A: Athletics for Kids is a federally registered charity that operates solely within British Columbia, Canada. Our mandate is to put as many kids into organized amateur sports as we can. In recent years our support has extended to approximately 350 kids per year, on average. A4K is based in North Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is operated by a fully volunteer Board of Directors.

Simply put, Athletics 4 Kids is an effort to support otherwise financially unable youth to play sports.

Q: What inspired this foundation?

A: The original founder, Shane Collins, grew up in London, England and was a competitive swimmer. His family fell on hard times but there was a member of the community that anonymously stepped up to pay Shane's swimming fees for as long as he wanted to continue with it. He later found out about this donation and was inspired to help similar families once he moved to Canada.

Q: There is definitely an academic component to your organization. Can you talk about how the kids who participate in your program are asked to balance their education with their participation in sports?

A4K believes that sports are a great tool for building well rounded individuals, but there is no substitute for a full education. Therefore, applicants are only eligible for funding from A4K if they are enrolled in school. Learning to balance school work with a busy sports schedule not only teaches time management skills, but children also understand what it means to set priorities and how to make sacrifices. We are continuously amazed by the stories we hear of children we help, where they are not only happier and healthier while playing the sports they love, but their academic performance often increases. A4K takes great pride in helping make powerful differences in the lives of these youths.


Q: What has been the most challenging obstacle thus far in the development of the organization?

A: Making the leap from being a relatively locally known and operated charity to one that engages with the rest of the province has been a big challenge. A4K wants to be there for every family that needs our help, so to keep up with demand we must constantly be looking for new sources of revenue, including new community partners.

Athletics for KidsQ: You've done a great job of obtaining support and sponsorship, which is an area many nonprofit organization's struggle with. Do you have any suggestions or tips on how to acquire local support?

A: Share the story - that is what drives the passion for donors. We believe the stories of all the families supported by A4K are ones that resonate with most people, as we all have been affected by sports throughout our lives. For other organizations in a similar situation, share your successes with your followers. They are more interested in how the charity's efforts have made a powerful and lasting impact on the end user rather than what the charity did along the way. Finally, persistence is key. The non-profit world is very competitive. You can get a lot of "no's" before getting the "yes" you are waiting for, but one thing is for certain: You can't get that "yes" without asking.

Q: What can your supporters or those interested in your cause do to help the Athletics 4 Kids Foundation?

A: We have a great relationship with our surrounding community and always love hearing from those passionate about our cause. A4K is currently open to volunteer help in the area of administration, foundation grant writing and event assistance. We also would love to team up with an event planner to help guide our own A4K events including our annual gala.

Corporate partnerships are very high on our priority list in the coming years. We have just started to really focus on this area, so if there is any interest in striking up a partnership, we are very happy to discuss and work towards a mutually beneficial one.

Finally, if the mood shall strike, we can always use donations from those that believe in the benefits of sports for kids. Stay tuned for our Sponsor an Athlete campaign.

 

For more information and details on how to get involved, visit www.a4k.ca

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On the run down courts of Chicago's South Side, a legend in the making was born. Who knew that he would become a symbol of hope for the community? Englewood is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side. It is the site of 63 homicides since January of 2008. A place where, over the past decade, 25% of the population has left. It is also the hometown of the NBA's youngest ever Most Valuable Player - Derrick Rose.

 

Derrick Rose has been a role model of sorts for the residents of Englewood -- because he made it out. Rose, however, cannot carry all of Englewood on his back, like he did with the Chicago Bulls this season. He needs some help; some other postive role models. And so one of his sponsors - Powerade - has stepped up to the plate, pledging to donate $15,000 to the basketball courts at Murray Park in Englewood where "D-Rose" grew up playing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“'The Chicago Park District is thrilled that Derrick Rose and Powerade have selected Murray Park to undergo improvements,' said Chicago Park District General Superintendent & CEO Tim Mitchell. 'Refurbishing the courts and other park amenities not only pays homage to Derrick Rose but also the children of the West Englewood community by improving their quality of life through recreation.'"

 

Residents of the South Side were pleased to hear about Powerade and Rose's contributions to the community. However, they are not quite ready to call it a victory just yet.

 

"You're giving people a basketball but you're not giving them a book," said Mark Harris, 39. "A park is not going to change the condition of black people."

 

Harris is an Englewood resident and also a filmmaker. He is trying to put together a film festival in order to help educate the youth of Englewood with "etiquette classes about how to dress, hold a fork and spoon, and speak in public—skills Harris believes will empower Englewood youths to succeed."

 

For an area with 1,091 violent crimes in the past 12 months, it's worth a shot. Powerade and Rose are doing a great thing. They hope to be able to do more for the city than the $15,000 contribution. A few months ago, during the Bulls NBA playoff run, the MVP said, "'I'm excited to see Murray Park get redone,' said Rose. 'Powerade has been a great partner both on and off the court and I appreciate the idea to give back to where it all started for me. Hopefully I can help raise some good money during the rest of the post-season.'"

 

It's a rare occurance that a superstar is drafted to play in the city that he or she grew up in. From the basketball courts to the high school arena, Derrick Rose left his mark on Chicago.

 

Rose was the first overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. It must have been meant to be. The Bulls sat at a 1.7% chance of landing the first pick in the draft lottery. As fate had it, they won.

 

Now the city of Chicago watches as Rose dazzles the crowd with his gravity defying dunks. He's turned the Bulls relevant again. He's even drawing comparisons to some guy named "Jordan."

 

We watch eagerly with hope that Derrick Rose can give back more to the South Side community, and make some real change for its residents. Maybe he'll even bring home a championship.

 

Sources:
http://www.chicagonow.com/daily-chicago-sports-tab/2011/05/derrick-rose-powerade-team-up-to-help-chicago-park-district/

http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/ct-red-0718-englewood-main-20110717,0,3697508.story

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Friday, 15 July 2011 05:46

Women’s World Cup — a World Away

The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup is underway and the US Women’s National team is undefeated in play thus far.

 

The US team made national headlines, and has been a constant fixture on sports and news talk shows. ESPN is calling the finish to the recent game against Brazil as the 5th most dramatic game finish in all of sports—ever. Playing a (wo)man down for most of the second half of the game, and losing by a goal, the US rallied in the 122nd minute to score on a long header to tie the game eventually sending the game into penalty kicks. The team won 5-3 on penalty kicks thanks to some dramatic diving saves by US goaltender Hope Solo. This all coming 12 years after the dramatic World Cup champion US women’s team ousted China at the Rose Bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As women from different countries battle it out in the FIFA World Cup in Germany, a world away in the slums of Majengo, Kinyago and Kiambui, Nairobi’s women are playing for different reasons. A Kenyan organization, Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP) has been “installing important life and social values to the youth of Nairobi’s slums through the power of football” since 2008. Football - or soccer as we Americans call it - has been a medium for change and education for these young girls and women.

 

One of VAP’s programs, titled Mrembo, focuses on helping “Unveil and restore the inner beauty of young women through sports.” The word “mrembo” in Swahili literally means “beautiful.” Mrembo sets out to try to give these young girls a sense of beauty that may have been lost or tarnished growing up in the trying regions of Kenya. Mrembo states that growing up under the Kenyan culture sexuality is something that is a sort of taboo topic. For the most part there is a large deficiency of knowledge and “as a result many end up in compromising situations leading to early pregnancies, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, school drop outs etc.”

 

Here are some of Mrembo’s objectives as stated on their website:

- Empower young women and girls on issues related to their sexuality.
- Explore social challenges faced by girls as they are growing up.
- Encourage women to participate in sports.
- Offer counseling and guidance.
- Create a platform where young women can discuss their issues.
- Enable young women to make informed choices in their lives.

 

Sports can help these young women deal with issues faced every day. It is a means of letting go and releasing stress and emotions. When playing, it is easy to not think about the hardships they face.

 

Within the Mrembo program, "one of the sessions in the program is called 'Life Choices.' The girls will first dribble a ball through a set of cones. Next, each cone will represent a challenge in life, and there will be a penalty of 5 sit-ups for hitting a cone. The session is concluded with a round of discussions about the similarities between soccer and life - in both, one must make the right decisions and deal with challenges and consequences. The coordinator will assist the discussion by bringing up choices and challenges faced growing up."

 

Maybe one day in the future, we'll see some of these women competing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, visit VAP at http://keywords.dsvr.co.uk/vap.co.ke/

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Wednesday, 06 July 2011 05:58

Suffering the Greatest Loss at Wimbledon

Wimbledon 2011 has come and gone. We’ve seen superstar athlete Rafael Nadal fall to the hands of budding star Novak Djokovic. Djokovic not only took the final and championship from Nadal, but also the number one overall ranking.

Nadal, however wasn’t the real loser — Oxfam was. Oxfam is a confederation of 15 organizations that work in 98 countries throughout the world with the ultimate goal of ending poverty and injustice. And due to rather unique circumstances, Oxfam and its affiliates were rooting extra hard for another athlete — Roger Federer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The late Mr. Nicholas Newlife, a wealthy man and apparent high-roller, left his entire estate to Oxfam when he passed away at age 69. His estate, however, included some interesting outstanding bets:

 

£250 on Roger Federer to win at least 14 grand slam titles before 2020 at 66/1
£1520 on Federer to win the Wimbledon men’s singles at least 7 times before 2020 at 66/1

 

The gamble paid off on the first bet when Federer completed the task in 2010. Oxfam was the beneficiary, taking home £16,750 in winnings to help their humanitarian efforts. The second bet? Well, we’ll just have to wait until next year, as Federer was ousted by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in this years' Wimbledon tournament.

 

The good news? Being that Federer has won 6 times at Wimbledon, he still has 8 years left to win the bet and secure a nice victory for Mr. Newlife and Oxfam.

 

Cathy Ferrier, Fundraising and Supporter Marketing Director at Oxfam, said:

"All of Oxfam have been cheering Federer’s progress for the past couple of weeks, and obviously we’re very disappointed that he’s bowed out of the tournament at this stage. The good news is we can still tune in next summer and hope Federer regains his title and brings in a six-figure sum to help us fight poverty. The real hero in the story, whatever happens, must be Mr Newlife, for his generous legacy gift and his tremendous sporting acumen."

 

How much exactly could £1520 at 66/1 odds take home for Oxfam? £101,840. At the current exchange rate that's over $164,095 US Dollars - not bad for one bet.

 

While it's a rather unconventional way of supporting a cause, Mr. Newlife should be applauded for his bets. He could have very easily donated a smaller sum, however in this interesting - and rather exciting - fashion, it is almost like an investment that has exponential earning capacity. If Nicholas Newlife hits the jackpot on all of his bets, the outcome is potentially life changing for thousands worldwide.

 

“Should all the bets come to fruition, Oxfam would receive around £330,000, which would be enough to buy emergency rations for almost 46,000 people, safe water for more than 350,000 people, or buy 12,800 goats."

 

Go to your local currency exchange with £330,000 British pounds. You’ll leave with a solid $531,352.46. Heck, I’m even rooting for Federer next Wimbledon. Oxfam will be rooting until 2020.

 

For more information on Oxfam, visit http://www.oxfam.org/

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I've always got my eye out there for interesting opportunities where sports and cause related programs meet, and this one just popped up on the radar last week...


Len Saunders is an award winning author, motivational speaker in the fight against childhood obesity, and nationally recognized for his innovative health & fitness events. Most recently, you may have seen him on such media giants as CNN, Good Morning America, CNBC, The Today Show, ESPN, Nickelodeon, MSNBC, and the Fox Channel. He's served as a consultant to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition as well as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association on the topic of childhood obesity.


Len is best known for creating Project ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously), an internationally recognized program that literally has millions of children from all 50 states and over 50 countries exercise in unison during the first Wednesday in May.  He has created dozens more nationally recognized programs that teach children about leading a healthy lifestyle. Len is also an accomplished author of five books, with his most recent, 'Keeping Kids Fit' released in 2010.

 

 

 

 

Len is working on a new book for middle school aged kids that teaches them about role models and mentors to "help them find a positive influence in their life." He's looking for Professional and Olympic athletes who are interested in sharing their stories and highlighting the people who influenced them throughout their athletic career. In addition, the book will also give the athlete an opportunity to showcase their own charitable programs and activities.

 

If you or anyone you know might be interested, please reach out directly to Len Saunders at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

You can visit Len's site http://www.lensaunders.com to learn more about the great work he's doing to keep kids active and healthy, in body and mind.

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The good folks at Travel2Change.org reached out to us with some info on their very cool new initiative in the social change space; check it out...

 

The non-profit organization travel2change recently launched an idea challenge that invites travelers, organizations and local communities alike to submit innovative and sustainable project ideas. The goal is to foster responsible travel that can create a positive impact on local communities and offer support in a sustainable manner. The first challenge revolves around the themes of water and tourism, and Sport is one of the means used to empower change.

 Since its recent launch, over 150 initial members have joined the online community and submitted around 35 innovative project proposals for the idea generation challenge. For the sports category, one of the members suggested the 'Surf Liberia” project. This idea aims to create a surf community run and maintained by local youth. So far, surfing in this region is a privilege reserved to visiting tourists only.

 

Travel2change believes that sport is a great way to positively impact people’s lives. There is no limit to your creativity when it comes to linking water and sports to create social change! The best ideas will be put into action in summer 2011, thanks to the support of Kuoni. The first challenge is open until 19 June 2011. If your idea wins or if you are the most valuable participant, travel2change rewards you with a free trip to the project destination.

 

How can we travel to create a positive impact on the lives of local communities with the help of sport?

 

Inspire with your idea at http://www.travel2change.org !

 

Travel2Change.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: There are now 5 more "Sports" related projects on the Travel2Change platform, including:

Water sports to the less priveleged
Just Surf! St. John, USVI
Surf Voluntourism with WAVES for Development (WAVES)
Teach Children Swimming

 

For more information, check out:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.travel2change.org
facebook.com/travel2change
twitter.com/travel2change

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Sunday, 28 February 2010 16:00

Featured Organization: Special Spectators

Special SpectatorsSpecial Spectators

ASSOCIATED SPORTS: Football (American), College Athletics
CAUSES SERVED: Children & Youth, Health
AGE GROUPS SERVED: Children & Youth
EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
WEBSITE: http://www.specialspectators.org

ABOUT:


Special Spectators creates magical days for seriously ill children and their families at college sporting events across the United States. In partnership with athletic departments, we provide tickets to games and design days filled with exciting surprises and experiences in and around the stadium that are not accessible to most fans. Special Spectators is designed to create fun for the entire family and provide a pause from the difficulties they face battling a loved one's illness. We also coordinate visits by athletes to children's hospitals or pediatric units in order to expose them to the inspiration and reward of making a powerful contribution to the community.

 

Since its inception in 2002, Special Spectators has hosted approximately 6,000 seriously ill children, parents and siblings at about 180 games. Nearly 45 FBS (formerly Division 1-A) programs have participated in Special Spectators including universities from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, MAC, Pac-10, SEC, Sun Belt and WAC conferences.

 

INTERVIEW:

 

Q: After the children has experienced a game day event, what seems to be their favorite moment? What seems to touch the athletes the most?

 

A: There are so many aspects to each game day event - the tailgate party with visits from cheerleaders, mascots, the marching band and other student-athletes; tours of the locker room; meeting coaches and players; visiting the press box; and walking on the field during a stadium announcement welcoming the kids to the game - that it's difficult to pinpoint the one thing kids enjoy the most.

 

When I attend our events, I like to ask each youngster their favorite part of the day. Sometimes you never know what I child will say. I remember an event we hosted at Georgia Tech in 2006. It was a beautiful October day. The families watched a thrilling, come from behind Yellow Jacket victory from a luxury suite. The kids met some of the players while watching them during pre-game warm-ups; they had their picture taken with the cheerleaders and "Buzz", the Georgia Tech mascot; and the stood on the field while the fans gave the kids a warm welcome to Bobby Dodd Stadium. After all that, what was the most memorable moment for one little boy? He was so excited to see, up close, one of the orange pylons in the end zone!

 

As for the athletes, I think they are impacted by two things: 1) Despite everything a child endures while battling their illness, they're still able to have a big beautiful smile on their face and they act as if all the treatments, tests, surgeries, medications, etc are really no big deal; 2) Many of the athletes are surprised at how happy the kids are to meet them and the inspiration they're providing the patients when the children are inspiring them simultaneously.


Click the images below to see pictures from Special Spectators events over the years...

{slimbox images/stories/spec_5130.jpg,images/stories/spec_5130.jpg,Special Spectators;images/stories/spec_5849867.jpg,images/stories/spec_5849867.jpg,Special Spectators;images/stories/spec_5941.jpg,images/stories/spec_5941.jpg,Special Spectators;images/stories/spec_7781.jpg,images/stories/spec_7781.jpg,Special Spectators;images/stories/spec_8262.jpg,images/stories/spec_8262.jpg,Special Spectators;images/stories/spec_9821.jpg,images/stories/spec_9821.jpg,Special Spectators}

 

Q: What has been your greatest success? What are you most proud of accomplishing with Special Spectators?

 

A: I'm proud of so much we've accomplished with Special Spectators to date. We have unbelievable volunteers who are unstoppable. We have no paid staff. All of these dedicated people have full-time jobs, but they find a way to create some unbelievable events. When you think of what we've done in seven years with very little resources - entertained 6,000 patients, parents and siblings at about 180 games for a little over $90,000 total. Despite all that, I don't think anyone, including myself, is fully satisfied. We all feel as if we've just scratched the surface. I think that's extraordinary!

But what I'm most proud of is the feedback we hear from families. Parents have told us the day they spent at a Special Spectators event was the last great day in their child's life. One mom told me our event was the first time the family has gone out (other than holidays) in three years! Everyone associated with Special Spectators is deeply honored and fortunate to impact these families this way.

 

Q: What obstacles have Special Spectators overcome? In what way does Special Spectators need help?  What areas do you need volunteers to get involved in the most?

 

A: When you run a grass roots organization like Special Spectators, I think obstacles are part of the landscape to the extent they almost go unnoticed.

The biggest obstacle we face currently is developing the infrastructure needed to grow and expand.  In order to do this we need money and more volunteers who can help us in a variety of areas: Fundraising, sponsorships, PR, mobile and computer technology, multimedia production, legal, accounting, game day event planning, game day event hosting, volunteer coordination, business development & strategy, social media.

 

Q: What is your favorite experience with Special Spectators?

 

A: There have been some unbelievable experiences. Out of the 170 events we've hosted, I've only attended about 25 of them so some I've witnessed first hand. Others have been shared by volunteers.

I guess the greatest experience was a night game in 2004 at Oklahoma. During a timeout in the third quarter, the kids walked out on the field for the stadium announcement. For some reason, they wanted me to go with them.

 

The announcement told the 85,000 Sooner fans why the kids were at the game, gave a brief description of the organization and asked the crowd to welcome the kids to Memorial Stadium. What followed was a thunderous standing ovation. We all waved to the crowd. I was standing slightly behind the four boys and turned my back to acknowledge the fans behind us. As I did that, the ovation became deafening! I had no idea what caused this to happen until I turned back to face the boys and noticed that one of them, who was actively receiving chemotherapy, had removed his OU cap from his bald head to wave it in appreciation. The place went bonkers!!!

 

When I escorted the kids back to their seats, fans were yelling words of encouragement as we walked by and many, from moms to big burly men, were wiping tears from their eyes. About 30 days after that event, one of the boys passed away.

 

Q: What dreams/goals do you have for Special Spectators in the future?

 

A: Our goal for the organization is this: "To become the greatest sports and entertainment-based nonprofit organization for seriously ill children in the world." 

We believe we can reach this goal by functioning within the parameters of our value statement which is, "Special Spectators is committed to operating with the values personified by the remarkable children we are fortunate to serve - passion, taking nothing for granted, integrity and unlimited imagination." 

Today my ultimate dream for Special Spectators is to host seriously ill children from around the world at the "Special Spectators Olympic Village" and provide them with the access to their choice of any of the events played at the Olympics for two weeks. 

But ask me my ultimate dream tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll think of something bigger by then.




 

 

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Tuesday, 10 May 2011 17:46

Picking Up Butch (via E:60)

Special thanks to Duff Gibson at Sport At Its Best for sharing this one. As he so eloquently said, this one "needs no introduction..."



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Thursday, 31 March 2011 10:00

Featured Organization: Roberto's Kids

Roberto's KidsRoberto's Kids

ASSOCIATED SPORTS: Baseball
CAUSES SERVED: Athletics, Children & Youth, Community, Poverty
AGE GROUPS SERVED: All
EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
WEBSITE: http://www.robertos-kids.org

INTERVIEW:


Q: Can you briefly describe your organization and its purpose?

A: At Roberto's Kids, our global reach and leadership bridges the gap between different cultures through baseball. Our organization partners with communities as they develop and nurture community and social responsibility. We achieve that through the collection and distribution of new and gently worn baseball equipment.

Growing up with baseball cultivates openness to new ideas, experiences and people. Together, as a team, the importance of volunteering in social and community activities becomes part of the season and leads to a higher development of leadership, sense of community, and social skills.

Youth baseball organizations strive to develop and maintain a strong connection to their communities. Ongoing goals and visions are to be an enduring source of pride not only for the athletes, but also for families and the community.

Whether our program is working with volunteers or program recipients, the impact is the same. Everyone involved in our program is building or developing community and social responsibility. Baseball is just the vehicle everyone uses to get there.

Q: Roberto Clemente - the inspiration for the foundation - linked athletics to social responsibility. How has the organization continued and expanded on this thought?

A: Roberto Clemente, who was born in Puerto Rico and played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died while en route to delivering earthquake relief supplies to Nicaragua in 1972. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame just three months after his death when baseball writers waived the customary five-year waiting period.

Clemente died the way he lived his life. Away from the baseball diamond he helped people all the time, when there were no cameras around. Roberto once said, “Anytime you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, you’re wasting your time here on earth.”

Social and community responsibility comes in many forms - the stronger we are, the better we serve; the greater our drive, the closer our ties as partners. We see this kind of motivation and devotion throughout our family of program participants and it is the driving force that allows us all, together, to take the power and possibilities of community energy and enterprise, and make an impact wherever it lands.

Scores of program participants, groups and organizations across the United States and Canada have contributed their hands and their hearts, all in a collective effort to transform communities, and ultimately lives. We accomplish this by providing youth in third world countries, and their families, the opportunity to allow the game of baseball to lead them through the process of learning and developing their own social and community responsibility.


Click on the photos below to see a larger image

{slimbox images/stories/rk.clementes_pindars.jpg,images/stories/rk.clementes_pindars.jpg,(L to R) Roberto Clemente, JR, Lisa Pindar (Founder, Roberto's Kids), Vera Clemente (Roberto's widow), Steve Pindar (Founder, Roberto's Kids), Luis Clemente, in Cooperstown, NY;images/stories/rk.dr_kids_in_bleacher.jpg,images/stories/rk.dr_kids_in_bleacher.jpg,Children waiting for an equipment distribution in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, 2006;images/stories/rk.dr_kids_playing_ball_0109.jpg,images/stories/rk.dr_kids_playing_ball_0109.jpg,Children playing baseball in the Dominican Republic with a bucket for a glove, stick for bat;images/stories/rk.equipment_distribution_cow.jpg,images/stories/rk.equipment_distribution_cow.jpg,Children sharing their playing field in the Dominican Republic with a cow;images/stories/rk.hof_52308.jpg,images/stories/rk.hof_52308.jpg,Roberto Clemente, Jr, Steve Pindar (Founder, Roberto's Kids), Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda, taken at the Baseball Hall of Fame;images/stories/rk.roberto_me.jpg,images/stories/rk.roberto_me.jpg,Roberto Clemente, Jr and Steve Pindar (Founder, Roberto's Kids)}

Q: What are the lessons of playing baseball that translate into lessons of social responsibility?

A: Baseball is grounded in the rich tradition of sportsmanship and leadership, and teaches respect and responsibility. In order to be responsible to the team you first have to be responsible to yourself; respect yourself first and then others. As boys grow with the game, they become role models and leaders for the younger boys that follow. Respectful competition pushes young men to break records and earn positions on their team. They practice together in order to play together, in order to win together. Together they are more.

Growing up with baseball cultivates openness to new ideas, experiences and people. Together, as a team, the importance of volunteering in social and community activities becomes part of the season and leads to a higher development of leadership, sense of community, and social skills.
Youth baseball organizations strive to develop and maintain a strong connection to their communities. Ongoing goals and visions are to be an enduring source of pride not only for the athletes, but also for families and the community.

In the game of baseball winning isn't everything. All socio-economic barriers are removed on this field of dreams. Team members, one uniform and great pride translates into a strong sense of family and community. What young athletes learn in those exciting moments during the game is that you can't play a baseball game alone. If you're a great pitcher, someone else needs to hit the ball. If you're the 2nd baseman, someone has to run the base line for you to work your magic.

What baseball will come to mean is the farthest thing in a young child's mind when walking toward the field to play his first baseball game. Clean uniform, matching cap, glove securely attached to one small hand while the other clasps the palm of his father's giant hand. A father's glowing pride and knowing smile understands that while they walk on to the field together they are beginning a journey of learning to come together for the greater good.

Our founder, Steve Pindar, walked this journey twice in his life, when both of his sons started playing baseball. The life lessons they learned together are a significant part of the foundation of Roberto's Kids and The Pindar Family's focus on community and social responsibility.

Q: How does Roberto's Kids maintain a balanced focus on each of the three main parts of your mission: Character, Leadership, Integrity; Respect and Responsibility; and Sportsmanship?

A: The skills a young boy needs to possess to be a vital part of his team are the same skills needed to be a vital part of his community. He must recognize and accept the consequences of the actions and decisions he undertakes (Character, Leadership, Integrity); he must hold a caring attitude towards himself and others (Respect and Responsibility); and he learns a strong sense of control and competence, and learns to recognize and accept individuality and cultural diversity (Sportsmanship).

Often times our volunteers are already baseball focused and are developing those skills. Sometimes a volunteer has never played baseball. That volunteer joins with us to develop their own leadership or responsibility through a community service project, a fundraiser, an Eagle Scout project, a Bar Mitzvah Project, etc. All of these events in a family’s life demand the same focus as our mission.

Whether it’s a program volunteer or a program recipient they are still focused on the same mission. Baseball, a favorite American pastime, makes the project easy to relate to and fun. Each time we happen upon a new volunteer or a new program recipient that is taking up our mission, we pause so that we can look closer and feel fortunate for what we are witnessing.

Roberto Clemente played baseball to be a part of something that was bigger than him. Stephen Pindar founded Roberto’s Kids to create an opportunity for individuals, families and communities to come together and be more.

Q: What has been the most challenging obstacle thus far in the development of the organization?

A: Making sure we have enough equipment to assist everyone's needs. As in any organization, balancing supply and demand is a challenge. Analyzing the balance of supply and demand allows us to consistently evaluate what areas of development we must focus on during any particular part of our program year. As each year passes we're seeing a better balance between our supply and demand.

Q: Has there been some consideration to create Roberto’s Kids programming that focuses on girls’ and softball leagues?

A: The fundamental foundation of our organization comes from the game of baseball and we hold no regard to whether men or women, boys or girls are playing the game. We do accept equipment donations that are softball related and place them in our inventory with all the other donations.

Q: What are the criteria you use in evaluating that type of community partners to work with?

We welcome any individual, group or organization to become a part of our volunteer collection drive force. The desire to reach out to us in order to make a difference in the lives of others is criteria enough. Our Collection Drives amass equipment and uniforms that are distributed into third world countries. Volunteers are building and developing organized baseball through their donations in parts of the world where there is no sense of community.

Q: What can people do locally to help promote and assist in your organization?

A: Donations are the foundation of our program. We cannot develop the game of baseball in 3rd World communities in need without donors. Donor support makes all the difference in our ability to give a young boy or girl the chance to play baseball and families to come together to build and develop a strong sense of community. Each and every volunteer, whether an individual or part of a group, team or organization, is the life-line to fulfilling our mission.

Every contribution is important to Roberto's Kids, whether it is one box or 1,000 boxes. Companies, retailers, organizations and individuals across the United States and Canada are collecting baseball equipment and shipping directly to us.

One of our biggest challenges is that we do not have the resources to assist with cost of shipping the donated products to our facilities. We ask that donors assume the responsibility for transporting their collected donations to one of our collection hubs or storage locations. We do have the necessary partnerships in place to ensure the delivery of collected donations, at our facilities, arrive at their final destinations. 100% of all cash donations are used for these international shipping and storage fees.

Some options for volunteers to cover their cost of shipping are
- Raise the funds for shipping right in your community.
- Contact local businesses and organizations in your community to sponsor your project by paying for the shipping.
- Connect with local shipping companies and invite them to be a part of your project by donating the freight.
- Ask donors to include $1 with their items to assist in your shipping costs.

You also don't have to play baseball to be a part of our organization! Volunteers can organize a community dinner in their local community to benefit Roberto's Kids and encourage dinner guests to bring their used and gently worn equipment. Or add Roberto's Kids to your Birthday Party theme and encourage guests to bring a donation on your birthday invitations.

Q: What type of equipment are you looking for?

A: Basically if it has anything to do with baseball, we’re looking for it! We accept donations of new and gently worn equipment in all sizes and for all ages – caps, shirts, belts, pants, socks, cleats, bats, gloves, balls, bat bags, batting gloves, batting helmets, catchers equipment, bases, pitching rubbers, etc.

 

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