New PSA Campaign Promotes Volunteerism

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A national volunteer initiative from Volunteers of America and Major League Baseball.

Our two primary objectives are growth and engagement.

Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust have teamed up to encourage high school students to get involved with local community activities. Youth volunteers, along with Major League baseball players, have formed Action Teams to deliver an important message—volunteering is fun and personally rewarding!

A national youth volunteer program designed to inspire and train the next generation of volunteers, through the Action Team 64,000 high school students have helped over 204,000 of their neighbors in need by getting involved in their communities. Action Teams in more than 130 high schools in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan feature the personal involvement of active Major League baseball players who help raise public awareness about the benefits of volunteering.

In a recent school year, more than 900 Action Team Captains have planned more than 500 volunteer projects in their communities. Action Team members recruit fellow high school students to volunteer in projects which address local community needs.

Typical Volunteer Activities

While the types of local activities that students can pursue are diverse, Action Team Captains have to organize a minimum of two community service projects during the school year. These can be food or clothing drives, or other events such as landscaping and beautification projects, interactive sports tournaments or similar activities. They are also required to present to groups of other students in their school, where they will distribute the Action Team brochure and show an informational video on the program. Before the end of the school year, Action Team Captains submit a written reflection about their volunteer experiences as members of the Action Team.

The program goal is to help others — whether it’s out in the community, or inside the classroom.

Service projects vary in each school but may include:

  • Sorting and distributing new books to low income children
  • Reading to children and assisting teachers in day care and Head Start programs
  • Serving meals at homeless shelters and senior centers
  • Working in Volunteers of America’s affordable housing facilities
  • Collecting food, clothing, gifts and other needed items
  • Hosting holiday parties and crafts activities with disabled adults

“The Action Team program takes some of the burden away from those in charge of a school’s service-learning or community service program,” said Tanisha Smith, National Director of Volunteer Services for Volunteers of America.

“Participating schools receive exclusive access to monthly telephone conference calls featuring Major Leaguers, unique service-learning project ideas, certificates of achievement signed by Major Leaguers and other motivational materials to help promote the importance of volunteering in their communities.”

She went on to say that “Our two primary objectives are growth and engagement. Our short-term goals include reaching 200 schools; and having a presence in all 50 states (we’re currently in 34). Our longer term goal is to continue to grow the program globally and engage many more youth.”

PSAs Spread the Word

To encourage schools and students to participate in the program, Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust launched a national public service advertising campaign comprised of broadcast and local cable TV and radio public service announcements.

The PSAs in :60, :30 and :15 PSA lengths demonstrate that high school students can have a profound impact in their communities when they become “teammates” on the Action Team.

The PSA also demonstrates the continuing growth and popularity of the program, and when students join the Action Team, they are joining a team that is “50,000 strong!” Through the Action Team, students learn how helping others can strengthen their community and be personally fulfilling.

Broadcast quality digital files with the PSAs can be downloaded from http://www.goodwillcommunications.com/PSADigital.aspx.

For more information, visit the Action Team Web site at http://www.ActionTeam.org, or contact Tanisha Smith, 703-341-5034, Email: tansmith(at)voa(dot)org.

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