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Press Release

12/12/2006 4:00 PM ET
Major League Baseball players and Volunteers of America step up to the plate for at-risk children in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS -- Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust teamed up today to address the need for positive enrichment programs for at-risk children in grades K-8 in New Orleans, most of which were disrupted following the devastating hurricanes in 2005. David Dellucci of the Cleveland Indians, Chad Gaudin of the Oakland Athletics, LaTroy Hawkins of the Colorado Rockies and Jacque Jones of the Chicago Cubs presented Volunteers of America with an $80,000 check from the Players Trust to support the Lighthouse Program for at-risk children from the Ninth Ward at the Milestone/Sabis Charter School in New Orleans. The Major League baseball players also talked to the children about perseverance and teamwork during the Lighthouse after-school program. This is the second year that Major League baseball players have donated their time and resources to help Volunteers of America with its long-term goal of rebuilding the hurricane ravaged communities in the Gulf Coast.

"In just over a year, Volunteers of America has done a magnificent job in addressing the needs of the neediest New Orleans residents affected by the devastating hurricanes," said Hawkins. "However, there is still a lot of work to be done, and all Major League baseball players are grateful for this opportunity to help some of New Orleans' most important residents -- its kids. For years, Volunteers of America's Lighthouse Program has helped encourage the area's youth to excel in school and in life, and the Players Trust is happy to help contribute to the revival of this great program."

Managed by Volunteers of America's Greater New Orleans affiliate, the Lighthouse Program reinforces the basic academic skills and life lessons children in grades K-8 will need to succeed through its after-school programs, including its summer baseball program. Last year, the Lighthouse Program served over 250 children and their families through after-school and summer programs.

"We are honored and sincerely thankful for the interest the Major League baseball players have shown for our Lighthouse Program," said Jim LeBlanc, president and chief executive officer of Volunteers of America of Greater New Orleans. "What a perfect fit and a win-win for both sides. They, like we do at Volunteers of America, see the need for this program in our city now more than ever."

The Major League Baseball Players Trust partnered with Volunteers of America in 2002 to promote the nurturing and well-being of America's children and their families. The partnership features the personal involvement of Major League baseball players and their families with a variety of programs conducted by Volunteers of America throughout the United States. Also, together they administer the Action Team, a national youth volunteer initiative currently inspiring the next generation of volunteers in Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland (ME), San Francisco and Seattle. For more information about the Major League Baseball Players Trust, visit www.MLBPLAYERS.com.

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Through thousands of human service programs, including housing and healthcare, Volunteers of America helps nearly 2 million people in over 400 communities. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Our work touches the mind, body, heart-and ultimately the spirit-of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services. For more information about Volunteers of America, visit www.VolunteersofAmerica.org.