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Action Teams in Partnership with Major League Baseball Players Association
Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust joined together as national partners in 2002. A major part of the partnership is the personal involvement of Major League Baseball Players in raising public awareness regarding Volunteers of America and its programs with the goal of encouraging young people across the country to volunteer in their communities.
The signature program of the partnership between Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust is the Action Teams. In Maine, four High Schools have Action Teams doing great work in their communities: Brunswick High School, Poland Regional High School, Thornton Academy (in Saco), and York High School. Action Teams are composed of 12 to 20 students who are designated as Team Captains.
Improving the lives of others is the goal of Action Team students, working in coordination with their Action Team Coordinator (a teacher or administrator from their school) and Volunteers of America. Some of their community outreach includes intergenerational gatherings. For eight years, Thornton Academy Action Teams have been providing companionship and activities to the elderly residents of Volunteers of America’s affordable senior housing program, the Paul Hazelton Houses in Saco. The Brunswick Action Team has spent many afternoons engaging the seniors at Volunteers of America’s Westrum House; activities include pumpkin painting, Wii bowling competition, and holiday parties.
Brunswick Action Team has also traveled to Volunteers of America’s affordable senior housing programs (in Portland and on Peaks Island to lend a hand and socialize with residents. Getting out and helping seniors and veterans has also been the primary activities of Action Teams of Poland High and York High School. All four teams have made significant contributions to Food Security for Seniors by collecting food and bringing donations to food pantries. In York, Action Team Captains have seen the need to shovel snow for seniors who are living alone; many times seniors or public safety officials have contacted York’s Action Team to ask for their assistance.
Major League Baseball encourages volunteerism by bringing Action Team Captains closer to actual ballplayers. Every month, there is a nationwide phone conference with a Major Leaguer; Action Team members can listen to Major Leaguers discuss their involvement with volunteering. Action Team members have the opportunity to talk to players. In December, 2014, Maine Action Team Captains were invited to a Portland Pirates hockey game where they met and sat with Ryan Flaherty of the Baltimore Orioles. Ryan Flaherty spoke at length about his volunteer activities while attending Deering High School in Portland. And, every spring, Action Team Captains are invited to a Boston Red Sox game, which also includes the opportunity to visit Fenway Park before the game and see ball players close up. Major League Baseball Players Trust also provides $2,000 college scholarships to Action Team. In 2015, five Maine Action Team Captains received these scholarships.
Volunteers of America is proud to be a part of the Action Team program.
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