Shane Victorino dialed in from Hawaii to say "Aloha!" and share his thoughts on community service during January's Action Team Conference Call.
01/26/2010 10:02 AM ET
'Aloha' from the Flyin' Hawaiian
Victorino dials in to catch up with MLBPA Action Teams
By Jamie Bezozo / MLB.com
Victorino was the fourth player to make a guest appearance in the new monthly Action Team Conference program, which is designed to include schools that aren't close to Major League markets. Jason Jennings, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson were the guests in October, November and December respectively.
Victorino, who has been volunteering since his Boy Scout days back in Maui, told the high school students that his parents served as role models in his life through their community involvement, so serving others came naturally to him.
"I always said I wanted to help around the community, someway, somehow," Victorino said during the January call, which was moderated by broadcaster George Grande. "Why not give back?"
The Action Team program brings active players together with high school students at community projects, ballparks and teleconferences where they spend time working side-by-side and exchanging ideas about volunteerism and community outreach.
From charity drives to fundraisers and cleanup days, young people are learning the importance of teamwork and the difference the volunteers service can make. More than 19,000 high school students and more than 66 Major Leaguers have volunteered through the Action Team program, helping more than 90,000 people in need.
Victorino, who has been involved with the Action Team program since 2006, repeatedly mentioned how honored he was to be a part of the Action Team program and praised his teammates' good will and volunteer efforts.
"We definitely care about the community," he said. "Look at our team overall. Jamie Moyer is one of the biggest volunteers with his own charity. Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins -- we all volunteer out of the kindness of our hearts, because we love doing that and we have such a wonderful time doing it."
January's featured Action Team was from Windham High School in Maine. Windham High students gladly help with activities that include a prom fashion show and a school dance as well as simple chores like picking up trash.
One of the school's biggest events so far has been renting Shawnee Peak and providing 220 children an opportunity to go skiing for the day. The school has also raised money for Camp Sunshine, which caters to children and the families of children who have life-threatening illnesses. The camp is not only equipped with doctors, medical personnel and psychiatrists but also gives the families a chance to bond with one another.
The devastation from the recent earthquake in Haiti was another hot topic during the monthly teleconference. The high school students shared with each other the types of fundraisers they're holding for the victims in Haiti:
The Dallas Action Team started a "Help Me-Help Haiti" fund; Ewing High School (New Jersey) is having a candy sale in which 100 percent of the net proceeds will be sent to the Haiti Relief Fund at the Red Cross; West Deptford High School (New Jersey) started a collection drive -- food, clothing, shoes and medical supplies to send through passionrescuemission.org -- and Windham High School Action Team is hosting a bake sale to raise money for Haiti.
"Volunteer and give back in the community, especially during crucial times to keep things going, especially for Haiti," Victorino said. "There are so many places Mother Nature [affects] that you can't control, but when devastation happens, to be involved and do what you guys are doing is a wonderful thing."
Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fla., one of the closest Action Teams to Haiti, is coordinating collections among all of the schools clubs and the PTA. Their goal is to eventually put together a successful national coordination with all the Action Teams.