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An Action Packed 2014-15 School Year

The Action Team 2014-15 school year has come to an end and what a year it was!

The Action Team continued its expansion in ’14-15, as we welcomed a number of new schools into the program, including our first from ALASKA!!

Throughout the school year, Major Leaguers and more than 500 Action Team Captains from 100 high schools across the country worked together to help thousands of their neighbors in need. Along the way, the Team Captains’ efforts helped Major Leaguers and Volunteers of America to inspire and train the next generation of volunteers.

After kicking off the Action Team school year with two regional training sessions, one in Denver and one in New York City, it was clear that the 2014-15 campaign was going to be a major success. Action Team Captains in the Mile High City were joined by longtime supporters LaTroy Hawkins, Adam Ottavino and Drew Stubbs of the Colorado Rockies as well as Robbie Erlin and Tim Stauffer of the San Diego Padres. During the training session the teens and players shared their own meaningful and personal volunteering stories and offered each other advice for the upcoming Action Team school year.

These heartwarming stories truly showed the impact of volunteering. Adam Ottavino, a New York City native, shared how he witnessed his neighbors come together to restore the community after the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. “Despite the cold temperature, people came together to help those who fell to such hardships. Just to see everyone come out like that in one big force shows you the power of volunteering.”

The Players Trust and Volunteers of America plan and host regional training sessions and Action Team gatherings to help those teens serving as Team Captains plan and organize their community service activities. Topics covered during these sessions include how to pick a project, how to get others involved and how to organize a project. The sessions conclude with public speaking and presentation skills tips from Action Team supporter and guest speaker Avish Parashar, author of “Improvise to Success, leaving the Action Team ready to hit the 2014-15 campaign running! (Registered Action Team participants can watch training session videos in our Resource Center by clicking here.)

Action Team Training Session in Denver

Action Team Training Session in Denver

With Action Teams located in 33 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, a number of Major Leaguers were able to join their youthful partners in a wide range of activities to make an even greater impact in their communities. Some of these volunteering efforts included Washington Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen and Captains from Virginia distributing food to the elderly and disabled; Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Seattle based Captains dissembling bicycles to be shipped to a Zulu tribe in Africa by the non-profit Bicycles for Humanity, and Toronto’s Kevin Pillar and Rob Rasmussen joining Action Team Captains from Los Angeles to clean up Woolsey Canyon.

The action didn’t stop there! One Action Team created long lasting friendships with their special needs classmates through a Unified Basketball team. Another provided entertainment for the elderly, from arts and crafts to musical performances. And others helped beautify their communities by participating in weekly clean ups, that included painting park benches and planting gardens.

Brunswick Action Team Captains participate in the Maine Unified Basketball Tournament

Brunswick Action Team Captains participate in the Maine Unified Basketball Tournament

To help keep the Action Team connected throughout the school year, the Players Trust and Volunteers of America scheduled monthly conference calls, hosted by legendary broadcaster George Grande that featured a Major Leaguer and an “Action Team High School of the Month.” During these calls, Captains had the chance to share some of their service projects with other teens, as well as hear directly from a number of Major Leaguers, including David Robertson, Todd Frazier, Wesley Wright, Steven Souza, Max Scherzer, and Chris Capuano.

During April’s call, Chris Capuano summed up the feelings of his big league peers when he stated, “Everyone on the call should just be really proud of yourselves and know that all Major Leaguers and I are really proud of the work you guys are doing and have been doing throughout the year.” (Click here to listen to the monthly conference calls.)

Each year, Major Leaguers also recognize the tremendous work of Action Team Captains by awarding $2,000 college scholarships to 20 outstanding high school students serving as Captains.

And as the school year came to an end and the baseball season started to heat up, the Players Trust and Volunteers of America provided many of our Action Team Captains with free tickets to Major League baseball games as well as certificates of achievement signed by Major Leaguers.

Once again, we tip our cap to each and every one of the more than 500 Action Team Captains and their adult coordinators who are committed to helping improve their communities and assist their neighbors in need.

If you’re a high school student who’s not in on the action (click here for complete list of schools), then it’s about time you #JoinourTeam. Applications are accepted all year and individual and high school applications can be found here.

Although summer vacation is upon us, please stay in touch for news and information concerning the 2015-2016 school year by bookmarking and visiting ActionTeam.org and by following us on twitter (@_ActionTeam) and Instagram (_actionteam).

Enjoy your summer, and remember that summertime is also a great time to volunteer in support of a cause that is close to your own heart!