Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a national holiday in 1986, and since 1994, the federal government has been encouraging us to celebrate with a Day of Service. The Corporation for National and Community Service asks us to commemorate Dr. King by volunteering today or by signing up today for a volunteer event in the near future. It’s “Not a day off, but a day on.”
Because my mind never truly strays away from baseball for that long, reflecting on this holiday led me to think about the work of the White Sox organization in the Greater Chicago community. Chicago White Sox Charities, started in 1990, has donated nearly $27 million to charitable causes since its inception. CWSC works primarily on causes related to youth, such as education, health and wellness, and aiding vulnerable families, as well as cancer research and treatment. They organize a number of benefit events, from garage sales and online auctions to the Beyond the Diamond gala in April.
CWSC’s community-based organizations include the Amateur City Elite (ACE) program, which recently produced its first MLB draftee, Corey Ray. Players also establish their own organizations, including Abreu’s Amigos (supporting Easter Seals) and Tim Anderson’s League of Leaders (a youth guidance program).
Then there’s the White Sox Volunteer Corps, which organizes various service events that fans and community members can sign up for. I’ve been to a couple Volunteer Corps events, and they are a lot of fun. Lots of people from different walks of life come together for a cause, and many of them come wearing Sox hats. Once I helped to build a couple of benches for the schoolyard at Kanoon Magnet School, and another time I painted a classroom at Tilden High School. Both of these projects were part of larger efforts to clean, fix, and improve facilities throughout the schools, and although they may seem small, they make a difference. Sometimes you even get to meet some White Sox people at these events too; I met several at these two events alone.
If you live in the Chicago area, getting involved with White Sox Charities or the Volunteer Corps is a great way to help those in need while feeding your passion for the White Sox. Click here for the White Sox Volunteer Corps sign-up page, or click here to learn more about Chicago White Sox Charities.
On that note, what are the causes close to your heart this MLK Day? Are you doing any service events today or soon? Do you have any volunteer stories to share, White Sox-related or otherwise?