I love what athletes and United Ways are doing to make a difference in their communities. For example, United Way of Lake County, Illinois worked with an elementary school that had about 20 disabled children who had to stay inside during recess. This United Way and a team of volunteers built an accessible play area outside the school in partnership with the Chicago Bears and NFL Charities. On April 19, 2012 United Way of Lake County was one of the 10 recipients of this year's Make A Difference Awards and received $10,000 from Newman's Own, presented by actor, musician and philanthropist Kevin Bacon at the awards ceremony inWashington, DC.
The next day, Greater Twin Cities United Way arranged for 40 athletes and coaches from Nike’sElite Youth Basketball League to read with second graders at Jackson Magnet School in St. Paul, Minnesota. Our hope is that our partnership with the league will inspire their student/athletes to be volunteer readers, tutors and mentors for years to come – perhaps even if they have a successful college and professional career.
Kids look up to athletes, but you don’t have to be one to make a difference in the life of a child. Take a moment now and take the pledge to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. We need you and our communities need you! And let us know about other examples of the connection between sports and volunteer engagement.