BYB: You are involved with charity work and people don’t realize how important it is as a star athlete to give back. Tell me about your charity work and why it’s so important to you?
Paul O'Neill: It has been going on most of my career. You make appearances for non-profits and banquets and golf tournaments and such to help them raise money. I can do more now because my kids aren’t so young and I don’t play a hundred and eighty games a year. You should give back as much as you can. Many, many people in the world suffer. With my non-profit, Right Field Charities, we particularly focus on giving free memorabilia to charity events that raise desperately needed funds for childrens’ causes. Someday, God-willing, we will be able to fill every request or most of the requests but the needs out there in the world are gargantuan so we all have to pitch in. Like Joe Torre said, and his charity does tremendous work, small steps. I plan on living a long time and building from what we started.
BYB: You are leading the charge with BeEdmond and making people aware of Teen suicide prevention. How is it going?
Ty Hensley: It is going very well... the initial fund-raising of $40,000 is complete and the app is built. In addition to the personal donations, we had some big community partners step up and get it done. Please let me take a moment to thank those of you that are reading this that donated. It is a small step towards making a big difference in connecting teens to their communities.
BYB: Tell me why High Socks for Hope was started & your goal?
David Robertson: High Socks for Hope was started right after the tornadoes hit Alabama on April 27, 2011. Tuscaloosa is my hometown; it is where I was born and raised, went to high school and college. It is a place that will always be home. Seeing it destroyed really affected me. I knew I had to do whatever I could to help fix what had happened. My wife and I discussed several options of what to do and where to donate money, but decided we wanted to make sure we knew where it was going and that 100% of it was going toward relief efforts. We opened the "David and Erin Robertson Foundation" to start collecting donations and then the High Socks website to start raising awareness of the devastation and needs that are present... Our goal is to assist those that are in the most need. There are several families that we work with that are either homeless or struggling to make ends meet, and we are working hard to get those families in a safe place and back on their feet.
Players for the Planet?
Chris Dickerson: Along with Jack Cassel, I am the co-founder of Players for the Planet. We bring professional athletes together to help inspire cities, communities to build awareness of a growing environmental crisis in America. I feel like I am at that point in my life where it is time to do something positive, not for myself, not for a select group of people but rather try my hand at the global community. I want to be the one to step up to the plate and make the issue of Global Warming a concern that doesn’t just reside in the back of our minds, but it is brought to the forefront of our reality. Although everyone is aware, I feel there needs to be a sense of urgency among all Americans. There's so much happening with Players for the Planet right now.
BYB: Mr. Smalley, tell me about Pitch In for Baseball. What is your mission?
Roy Smalley: Our mission, to put it simply is to put baseball equipment in the hands of kids who want to play ball but don’t have the resources to do so. We source new and gently used baseball and softball equipment and distribute it to youth baseball organizations and communities in need. We accomplish this through equipment and cash donations from individuals and organizations everywhere.
BYB: So please tell us about the Joe Niekro Foundation?
Natalie Niekro: The Joe Niekro Foundation was established in 2007 in honor of my father. After my dad died from the aneurysm, I immediately started doing research to find out as much as I could about them. I was astonished by the lack of public awareness and under-support of research of such a widespread and often fatal condition. I decided that to launch the foundation to really bring awareness to this condition.
BYB: Give us an idea of how important giving back is to your family?
Amber Sabathia: We’re very thankful for what we have, and we want to help others in any way we can. Giving back and caring for others is at the heart of our family. CC and I both grew up in the inner city in Vallejo, CA and understand the needs of children and families. We established our PitCCh In Foundation five years ago that really focuses on helping inner city youth and we also participate in many special projects here in the tri state area and in our home town of Vallejo, CA...We are always looking to expand our donor base because we can't do this alone. We want to reach any many youth as possible, especially those who need to be inspired and motivated to pursue their dreams. Your readers can donate on www.PitCCh.org or consider sponsoring a team for the CC Challenge, our annual fundraiser and scavenger hunt in Central Park.
BYB: Tell me about Fight Club for Cancer?
Lisa Varga: "Fight Club For Cancer gives cancer patients and their families hope. We bring Athletes, Coaches, Sports Teams, Entertainment and Events together for a cause. We coordinate hospital visits, phone calls, meet and greets, sporting events, written letters, autographs, and support cancer patients and their families any way we can.
We are a 501C3 not for profit organization. We're here to help raise awareness and bring smiles to the faces of those who need it most. I know it helped my brother to have a team behind him in his fight and I hope we can help you too. God Bless & Keep Fighting!"
BYB: Tell me about the CoolKids Campaign?
Ken Singleton: CoolKids helps children and their families who are dealing with Cancer issues. We are a non-profit organization that offers services to families for free. Both my parents died because of cancer and I knew I had to do something in their memory. For more information on the CoolKidsCampaign, please go to CoolKidsCampaign.org and help anyway you like.