TAMPA, Fla., June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Major League baseball players presented $150,000 in grants from the Major League Baseball Players Trust to six Volunteers of America programs that further the organization's mission to strengthen communities and build better lives for those in need. More than $1 million has been provided by the Players Trust to 65 Volunteers of America programs since the first grants were presented in 2003.
"Through the Players Trust, Major Leaguers have been true partners to Volunteers of America, and have become familiar members of our team working to improve the lives of young people and others we serve," Volunteers of America National President Mike King said. "We are truly honored and proud to have the Players Trust as a partner."
Melissa Persaud, director of the Players Trust, said, "Major Leaguers are proud to continue their decade-long practice of providing grants from the Players Trust to Volunteers of America's local offices to help increase the reach and impact of important programs that benefit children, seniors and veterans, among others. Together, the Players Trust and Volunteers of America continue to help improve the lives of our neighbors in need, and we encourage others to do the same."
This year's winning programs received Players Trust grants ranging in size from $8,800 to $47,700, which were presented on June 5 at Volunteers of America's national conference in Tampa. The six programs serve thousands of people in all regions of the United States:
- Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge, Parker House and Baton Rouge Youth residential programs: Players Trust funding will provide durable and child-appropriate bedroom furniture for the Parker House and Baton Rouge Youth residential programs, which serve some of the most abused and neglected children and youth in the state of Louisiana. This grant will be used to purchase 16 beds and 16 chests of drawers for the children's bedrooms. The long-term impact of this funding will be a safer, more comfortable environment where children can heal from past trauma.
- Volunteers of America of Western Nebraska, Center for Health Promotion: The grant will be used to upgrade 1980s-era exercise equipment at the Center for Health Promotion. The center's rural location makes providing adequate services to low-income people difficult. The 27-year-old health promotion program provides the only exercise facility in its county. The center offers low-cost classes and memberships to promote healthy lifestyles among children, families and adults.
- Volunteers of America of North Louisiana, Highland Club: Funding will be used to establish the Highland Club, a service program for high-risk teenagers in Caddo Parrish, La. The club, targeting high school students, will run in the evenings and provide a safe haven for those without other secure or supportive alternatives. The Highland Club will help ensure teens get the support and guidance they need to make the right choices to become successful, productive, confident, independent and healthy adults.
- Volunteers of America of Oregon, Kids Explore Oregon Project: Grant funds will be used to launch the Kids Explore Oregon Project to teach young people how to have fun without drugs and alcohol. The project will target those ages 5 to 18 at six public housing sites whose families don't have the resources to engage in fun community or outdoor activities. These funds will purchase a 12-passenger van to transport more than 300 children on numerous outings in and around the local community, as well as field trips further afield. These outings will promote healthy lifestyles by getting young people outdoors, exercising and exploring their surroundings.
- Volunteers of America Colorado Branch, Brandon Center: The Players Trust grant will be used to enrich an existing on-site Children's Program at the Brandon Center. The grant will also be used to renovate the "Children's Playhouse" space in the facility reserved for children's programming. With the help of trained volunteers and designated homework computers, children will have access to tutoring, an appropriate study space, and assistance with homework. Brandon Center provides emergency shelter, meals and support services to dependent children of single mothers who are homeless as a result of domestic violence or other crises.
- Volunteers of America of Massachusetts, Rebound Adolescent and Family Treatment Center: Funds will be used to remodel the kitchen and dining areas at the Rebound Adolescent and Family Treatment Center. The center is a 15-bed residential treatment facility in Boston serving male youth, ages 13-17, coping with drug addiction and alcoholism. The new space will create a multipurpose cooking and eating space where residents will learn the importance of healthy eating as they develop skills to prepare nutritional and affordable meals. Renovations will also include a dining area that can double as a meeting space.
Volunteers of America has partnered with the Major League Baseball Players Trust since 2002. The centerpiece of this relationship is the Action Team program, which encourages young people throughout the United States to volunteer in their communities. Action Teams, consisting of Major League baseball players and Team Captains from area high schools, work together in cities nationwide to encourage young people to get involved in their communities by volunteering. To date, Action Teams across the country have inspired more than 40,000 high school students to help over 145,000 people in need by volunteering in their communities.
About Volunteers of America
Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe and productive lives. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, those recovering from addictions and many others. Through hundreds of human service programs, including housing and health care, Volunteers of America helps more than 2 million people in over 400 communities. We offer a variety of services for older Americans, in particular, that allow them to maintain their independence and quality of life – everything from an occasional helping hand to full-time care. 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.
About the Major League Baseball Players Trust
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 program currently inspiring the next generation of volunteers across the United States, including Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For more information about the Major League Baseball Players Trust, visit www.MLBPLAYERS.com and visit the Players Trust Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/MLBPlayersTrust on YouTube.
SOURCE Volunteers of America