Ryan Flaherty may be known for his play on the baseball diamond, but this past Saturday night he took center ice at Cross Insurance Center for a Portland Pirates American Hockey League game. Ryan, along with two Action Team Captains from Maine high schools, participated in the game’s ceremonial face-off. The puck-drop set the tone for the evening, which was planned by the Major League Baseball Players Trust and Volunteers of America to recognize the Portland-area Team Captains for their continuous efforts to serve their community.
Poland Regional, Brunswick High School and Thornton Academy have all been quite active since the beginning of the school year, planning and participating in an assortment of volunteer activities throughout their communities. Having only joined the Action Team program a year ago, Brunswick High School has already completed more than four volunteer activities since September. Most recently, the Captains assisted at Volunteer of America’s Bayview and Westrum houses, cooking and serving holiday dinners to the elderly residents. During the month of December, Thornton Academy has kept busy volunteering at Volunteers of America’s Hazelton House, assisting with food distributions and their annual church fair. And, finally, Poland Regional Action Team Captains have been a constant presence at the Poland Food Pantry, filling boxes with food to be delivered to families in time for the holidays.
Ryan, a Portland native, is no stranger to volunteering. The Deering High School graduate has been a constant supporter of his community dating back to when he and his siblings were growing up. His mother constantly urged them to give back, especially through his church, to enable Ryan and his siblings see the world around them and to have a better understanding of those living with less.
Ryan shared many of these stories and memories with the Action Team Captains during the game and after expressing his thoughts on volunteering, the Captains realized how much they have in common with Ryan. “It’s great to be involved and help out with events in not only the community where I play, but also in Portland where I grew up,” said Ryan. “The interactions with those I help are priceless and it is so rewarding to give back…it is something you don’t get on the field.”
Brunswick High School’s adult Action Team Coordinator, Rita Maines, reflected on the event and the impact it had on her students, “We had a great time at the Pirates game with Ryan! He was awesome with the kids. He answered their questions with grace and sincerity. I am sure he won some new fans that night.”
Together, Major Leaguers, such as Ryan, and Action Team Captains like our Maine corps of youth volunteers, are working together as a team to inspire and train the next generation of volunteers by supporting their communities and giving back to those in need.
The Players Trust and Volunteers of America commend Brunswick High School, Poland Regional and Thornton Academy, and all of our Action Team Captains, for their passion and commitment to helping their neighbors in need.
To #JoinOurTeam please visit www.actionteam.org