Monday, January 2, 2017

Kid K Challenge: Accepted!

"Kershaw's Challenge is committed to transforming the lives of children in America, Africa and the Dominican Republic through Jesus Christ. Our goal is to partner with organizations that are committed to this as well and work alongside them on specific projects to make life better for children." ~ From the Kershaw's Challenge website

I used to be far more active in the lives of others: seeking opportunities to serve those in need, contributing money to certain causes I felt strongly about... basically just trying to make a difference in the lives of those around our community and around the world. But somewhere along the road I lost perspective and stopped making a difference. Sure, I can make excuses- the demands of work, family, etc.- but the truth of the matter is that I became self-serving, without much concern for the well-being of others. Or, shall I say, not enough concern to compel me to try to make a difference.

That perspective slowly started changing after a family member began enduring some real hardships. These difficulties led me to re-evaluate my own heart and caused a transformation in how I thought about the plight of others and what it was that contributed to their struggles. Instead of seeing things in black and white, my view became a little more gray.


There are plenty of professional athletes who use their celebrity and fortune to make a difference in the lives of others, and this past year saw two of them use trading cards to bring attention to the charities they are involved with. Carlos Correa of the Astros announced his Restless for the Cause initiative to help raise funds for the Houston Children's Charity's A Better Night's Sleep program. Those who participated by pledging $1 for every hit Correa collected during the 2016 season were to receive a special Topps card of the young star. Being the oddball lover that I am, I gave serious thought to pledging to 'go to bat' with Correa before deciding against it.

Ryan Cracknell, on the Beckett website, recently brought to light a second card, one produced to promote Kershaw's Challenge, the charity of the Dodgers superstar. Apparently the cards were produced to send back to those requesting autographs (TTM) of the 3-time Cy Young Award winner. This discovery led me to search one out on eBay; and I found one, for a few bucks. And while those funds won't go towards the charity, it has given me an opportunity to share with my readers not only an awesome card, but- more importantly- a great cause.

Clayton Kershaw, the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award winner for his humanitarian work, has used his sphere of influence to change the lives of others not only here in the U.S. but other parts of the world, as well. What began as a desire to help one particular orphaned girl suffering from HIV, Kershaw and wife Ellen eventually started Kershaw's Challenge in 2011 and then opened their first Arise Home in 2012. There, eight children have "beds to sleep in, a loving family of brothers and sisters, nurturing house mothers to tuck them in at night, full bellies every day, and a private school education." A second Arise Home was set to open at the end of the summer of 2016, serving as a girls home.

Most of us don't have the type of platform that Kershaw has to promote the causes we are passionate about, but that shouldn't be a deterrent. All it takes to make a difference in the lives of others is for each one of us to be used where we are, no matter our station in life.

"Challenge yourself to do something. Challenging friends to make a difference. Challenging the community to come together. Challenging the world to become a better place." (From the Kershaw's Challenge website)

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