DETROIT -- The John Hancock All-Star FanFest has provided fans of all ages with many ways to get an inside look at the game of baseball. At the Baseball Cares booth, fans have the opportunity to see and experience the ways Major League Baseball continues to reach out to its national and local communities to strives to make a difference. "Major League Baseball is committed to empowering the community with different programs and partnerships," said Jana Perry, manager of Community Affairs and Educational Programming for Major League Baseball. "It's our hope that they know that we care about the communities where we live and where baseball is played." The Baseball Cares booth is set up each day at FanFest, featuring many of MLB's community initiatives. It highlights its official charity, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and other partnerships: Kindervision, which features child safety videos; The Pledge with the Partnership for a Drug Free America, a commitment by youth to stay drug free; The American Heart Association; Team (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management); the John Hancock Roberto Clemente Man of the Year Award; and Play It Smart When It Comes to the Sun, a skin cancer awareness program.
Another important partnership featured at the booth is MLB's relationship with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which promotes the Hall of Famer's legacy and provides scholarships for youth who otherwise would not be able to attend college. "The Jackie Robinson Foundation has this incredible No. 42 figure filled with baseballs -- for a one dollar suggested donation, people can guess how many baseballs are in the figure. Whoever guesses closest to the actual amount will win a No. 42 authentic Dodgers jersey signed by [Jackie's wife], Rachel Robinson." The second-place guess will receive a signed copy of a book written by Rachel -- "An Intimate Portrait." The third-place guess will receive a signed copy of "Promises to Keep," written by Jackie's daughter, Sharon Robinson. Local children participated in the Baseball Cares booth display, as well. Their artwork was hung near the booth to celebrate the life of another imporant baseball hero, Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. "Children in the Detroit area have drawn lovely pictures about Roberto Clemente's life," she said. "We're promoting the Man of the Year award so folks know what we do to carry on his legacy." The Kindervision display at the Baseball Cares booth was a popular display, as well. The staff made videos of children as a safety measure designed to protect families in the event their children become missing. "It's a good way for parents to have their children on video if something were to happen, so that authorites would know their voice and their hair color -- because often times parents forget these things in a crisis," Perry said. MLB also has many health initiatives throughout the year to combat diseases such as cancer, promoting the importance of regular breast cancer and prostate cancer screenings and safety precautions concerning skin cancer. "It's a seven-year partnership that we have [with the MLB Players Association and the American Academy of Dermatology], it's a public awareness campaign about skin cancer," Perry said. In addition to the many community initiatives MLB has been involved with, it also takes great pride in the children's organizations it helps support, such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "We're promoting National Kids Day with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which will take place on Sunday, Aug. 7," Perry said. "What we're trying to promote is parents spending time with their children, doing fun activities like going to a ballgame." Local children are also involved in the All-Star events this week, participating as flag bearers during pregame ceremonies at the Futures Game and the Century 21 Home Run Derby, as well as throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the All-Star Game.
Christie Cowles is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.