All-Star Game Highlights President Obama's United We Serve Initiative; MLB is First Sports League to Team with United We Serve
Washington D.C. -- Responding to President Obama's call to service, Major League Baseball is making community service an overriding theme of the 80th All-Star Game and related events taking place in St. Louis this week.
From a charity run and benefit concert to community service projects and a Presidential video recognizing outstanding volunteers, Major League Baseball has embraced the President's United We Serve initiative and put community service front and center in a variety of special events and the All-Star Game itself, which will be broadcast Tuesday night to millions of fans across the U.S. and around the world.
Major League Baseball is the first professional sports league to launch a major collaboration with United We Serve and the charity and community service initiatives are the most extensive in Major League Baseball All-Star history.
President Obama will throw out the game's ceremonial first pitch and appear in a video featuring all of the living U.S. Presidents who are honoring 30 “All Stars Among Us,” outstanding volunteers being recognized for their acts of service to others.
United We Serve is President Obama's challenge to all Americans to engage in sustained, meaningful community service to help in our nation's renewal and recovery. Kicked off by First Lady Michelle Obama on June 22, United We Serve initially runs through a new National Day of Service on September 11. United We Serve is being led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that improves lives and strengthens communities through fostering service and social innovation.
“Service is a solution to many of our toughest challenges and we need every American to help renew our nation by engaging in service to others," said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation. “Like baseball, service is a hallmark of our American character. We salute Major League Baseball for putting the spotlight on service and encouraging fans everywhere to make service a part of their daily lives.”
“The central theme of the 2009 All-Star Game is community service, celebrating the extraordinary work being done by ordinary people,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “We are thrilled that we can come together with President Obama, who has encouraged a renewed spirit of national service, and illustrate a call to action in our communities.”
The charity and community service initiatives of the 2009 All-Star Game, which are themed "Going Beyond," will be the most extensive in the league's history, raising millions of dollars for numerous organizations and reaching tens of millions of people with messages about service. Among the efforts:
- Prior to the first pitch, President Obama along with former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter will appear in a seven-minute video address as part of a special ceremony celebrating All-Stars Among Us.
- On Tuesday, AmeriCorps members and volunteers will join MLB and Magical Builders to refurbish an inner-city baseball field in St. Louis used by local youth and paint a multi-purpose room inside the facility.
- During the game, a public address announcement will be made encouraging fans to visit http://www.serve.gov, a new website launched by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the White House that makes it easy for Americans to volunteer. Visitors to Serve.gov can type in their zip code to find local volunteer opportunities, recruit volunteers by posting their organization's projects, or get ideas for creating their own projects with friends, families, and neighbors.
- The All-Star Program Book features a donated ad about United We Serve that drives readers to SERVE.gov and profiles outstanding volunteers.
- United We Serve was highlighted at other festivities surrounding the game, including the free MLB All-Star Charity Concert presented by Pepsi benefitting Stand Up 2 Cancer which featured Sheryl Crow and Elvis Costello, the five-day interactive MLB All-Star FanFest, and signage and press conferences leading up the event.
After the All-Star game, individual MLB teams are expected to announce efforts to highlight community service and participate in United We Serve. Representatives from other sporting leagues and teams are developing similar efforts.
The United We Serve initiative aims to both drive volunteers to existing organizations and encourage individuals to organize their friends, families, and neighbors to develop their own service projects to meet pressing local needs. The Serve.gov website includes easy-to-use toolkits on projects such as organizing a book drive, creating a community garden, or conducting a home energy audit.
United We Serve reinforces the call President Obama made in his Inaugural Address for a “new era of responsibility.” The President has pledged to make service a central cause of his Administration, and has achieved early milestones including record turnout on the Martin Luther King Day of Service, Recovery Act funding to support 13,000 new AmeriCorps members, and the passage of the landmark Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the most sweeping national service legislation in 75 years.