Coming Soon: “A Day in the Life of an Action Team Captain”
Hundreds of high school students from Maine to Maui are helping Major League baseball players and Volunteers of America train and inspire the next generation of volunteers through the Action Team national youth volunteer program. These teens – Action Team Captains – in turn, plan, organize and participate in volunteer activities of their choosing that support causes important to their individual communities.
After meeting Action Team Captains you’ll walk away impressed by their passion for helping others, their ability to juggle the ever-complex daily schedules of high school life and their impressive sense of responsibility to do what they can to improve the lives of others around them.
In short, it is inspiring to watch these teens utilize the resources and encouragement provided to them by Major League baseball players and Volunteers of America to leave a lasting impact in their communities.
To help amplify the work of Action Team Captains everywhere, two Action Team Captains were recently chosen – and it was a difficult choice – to tell their personal stories to video director Andrew Vallentine. Vallentine has produced several successful music videos for artists such as “YouTuber” Ricky Dillon (“Stars”; 1.7 million views) and others, including Charlie Puth (“LUV”).
Vallentine’s (pictured above) first stop was Cleveland, where he and his crew followed Rachel Duke, a junior at Brunswick High School. Duke was filmed at school, working her part-time job in a local pizza restaurant and participating in two of her favorite Action Team activities – visiting a senior center and hosting an arts and crafts activity for pediatric cancer outpatients at the Cleveland Clinic.
The Cleveland Clinic holds a special place in Duke’s heart, as she is a cancer survivor and spent part of her early childhood at the Clinic.
During her workshop at the Cleveland Clinic, Duke (pictured above on the right) and two of her fellow Action Team Captains were visited by a surprise volunteer, Major Leaguer Lonnie Chisenhall of the Cleveland Indians and Duke’s favorite player. It was an exhausting couple of days for Duke, as she graciously allowed Vallentine and his crew to invade most of her waking hours.
“Filming was such a great experience!” Duke said. “I didn’t really know what to expect, and I’m generally pretty camera shy, but it was actually a lot of fun. The Action Team program has been incredible. It brings together two of my favorite things: baseball and volunteering. The program motivates me to volunteer in ways I otherwise wouldn’t.
“Having Lonnie surprise my Action Team members and me by volunteering with us meant a lot. I was really excited to get to meet and talk to him because he’s been my favorite player for a pretty long time. I’m a huge baseball fan, so it was a really big deal for me. It was amazing to me that he actually interacted with the patients and our Action Team for about an hour, especially because he had a game later that night. I think we all gained a lot of respect for him because he was so down to earth and just knowing that he’s an athlete who played in the World Series, yet he still makes time to volunteer.”
From Cleveland, Vallentine and his crew travelled south to Tampa, Fla., to shadow Action Team Captain Hishaam Shafiq, a junior at Tampa’s King High School. Shafiq is a huge baseball fan, and he combines his passions for the sport and volunteering by assisting with baseball games and clinics for special needs youth.
During his experience, Shafiq (pictured above on the right) and his fellow Action Team Captains were also followed during school. From school, the teens took Vallentine and his crew to a nearby beach where the Captains participated in a Friday afternoon beachfront cleanup project.
On Saturday, Shafiq and his Action Team crew travelled to nearby St. Petersburg to volunteer at a morning baseball game with special needs youth and young adults. While offering some tips and helping guide the players to the plate and around the bases, Shafiq and the others received some volunteer reinforcements, namely Major Leaguers Kevin Kiermaier and Tim Beckham of the Tampa Bay Rays. Kiermaier is Shafiq’s favorite player, and the two managed to squeeze in some time to chat about baseball and the importance of helping our neighbors in need.
“When the crew came to my school on the first day I was slightly intimidated by all of the equipment, but I soon learned that the entire crew were extremely nice and down to earth,” said Shafiq. “My fellow Action Team members and I had a lot of fun filming and it was quite a unique experience.
“On Saturday, we were at Buddy Baseball and it was really fun for everyone including the kids, who we ultimately want to have the most fun. Near the end of Buddy Baseball we were all surprised when Kevin Kiermaier and Tim Beckham showed up to do a round of batting practice with the kids. They were really cool guys and we also got to talk to them about volunteering and life in general.”
With the support and cooperation of quite a number of people in Cleveland and Tampa/St. Pete, Action Team Captains Rachel Duke and Hishaam Shafiq will soon have their passion for helping others unfold for all to see through the creative eye of Vallentine.
“I had a wonderful experience filming with Hishaam and Rachel for the upcoming Action Team videos,” stated Vallentine. “What impressed me most about these two young people is their passion and excitement about volunteering and the joy they receive from doing so. You could see the happiness on the faces of the people they were working with, it will be an experience I won’t forget.”
The Action Team national youth volunteer program was created and is administered by the Players Trust and Volunteers of America. Since the Action Team program launched in 2003, more than 91,000 high school students have volunteered to help more than 280,000 people in need. Action Team enrollment is ongoing, so please #JoinOurTeam.