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Teaming Up toward a Greater Cause

Kicking off the Team8 Tour – Houston

With such a unique opportunity to make a difference for thousands of our youth across the nation, it’s important that we come together to address the challenges facing our youth. When we stand alone, it’s possible to achieve something good. When united toward a group effort, we can achieve something extraordinary.

Having recently kicked off the Team8 Tour in Houston, in partnership with UnitedHealthcare and CBS EcoMedia, it’s clear how the power of teamwork is contagious. Our mission with the Team8 Tour is to encourage young people across the country to make healthy choices, build character and learn life lessons that will inspire them to be catalysts for positive social change. After combining our efforts throughout our recent three-day Tour stop in Houston, the result was nothing shy of special.

As part of the sports and fitness day at the SpringSpirit Youth Sports and Education Complex, our goal was to not only provide the participants with fun and engaging activities, but also to give them a place that they could turn to whether they are seeking safe haven, or somewhere to play.

Pulling together volunteers from all three organizations, we were able to provide the facility with a newly built outdoor basketball court, finished walking path and outdoor enhancements and landscaping. Perhaps one of the more overlooked concepts, simply providing youth with a safe place to play can be critical to their development.

Keeping kids engaged with opportunities to play and live healthy lifestyles leads to opportunities for them to learn to make productive choices. We were fortunate enough to have CBS Sports Network’s Pete Gillen and Danny Granger present to lead a basketball skills competition on the complex’s new court. Having Pete and Danny present not only provided them with a big league experience, but it also showed them the importance of being a role model and giving back.

In addition to the sports and fitness day, our teams visited the Langham Creek YMCA to provide equipment donations to youth registered for the Miracle League, including batting gloves and an Under Armour sack pack. Our team also visited Langham Creek High School to present the Uncommon Athlete program, which aims to motivate and empower young athletes to be leaders, both on and off the field.

With seven more cities planned, the Team8 Tour is looking forward to the next stop!

Steve Salem is the president of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.

Click here to see pictures from this project.

About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation

For the last 15 years, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has worked tirelessly to implement youth development programs that directly address the problems facing at-risk youth in distressed circumstances across the country. Inspired by one of the most iconic baseball families, the Ripken’s created the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to honor the legacy of its family patriarch, longtime coach, and mentor, Cal Ripken, Sr. The Ripken Foundation use sports-themed programs to bring police officers, youth partners and underserved kids ages 8 to 14 together on a level playing field to learn invaluable life skills.

In addition, the Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multi-purpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. In just five years, the Ripken Foundation has created 55 completed parks across the country, impacting over 235,000 kids annually. In 2015, the Ripken Foundation impacted over 1 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Parks and mentor programs.

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