Wednesday, October 26, 2011

12 year old Elliot Mast: A Home Run for Children’s Hospitals

Contributing Writer: Brandi Milloy

Twelve year old Elliot Mast has been using his love of baseball to make a difference in the lives of sick children.

He got the idea to help his local Children’s Hospital after seeing a commercial about major league baseball player, Curtis Granderson, whose Grand Kids Foundation provides education and baseball opportunities to inner city youth.  As a means of fundraising for his Scoring For Schools initiative, Granderson asked his fans to pledge money for home runs, runs scored and extra base hits.

Elliot became inspired to do the same thing and decided to dedicate his baseball season to the kids at a local Children’s Hospital.  A member of the KooDooZ youth advisory board, Danielle Beauregard, interviews Elliot:

Elliot is no rookie player.  Last year he raised more than $5,000 dollars by playing ball!  Elliot plays pitcher, catcher and first basemen for two travel teams and logs on average 65 games a season.  This 12-year-old breaks records whether on the mound or on the plate-striking out more than 100 batters and hitting .500 last season.  That’s a lot of money batted in when he’s pledged to donate $2 for every base hit, $5 for every strikeout he pitches and $10 for every home run he hits.  If doing his best isn’t motivation enough, his best season thus far was last year when he dedicated it to the kids in the hospital.

All monies raised benefit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation’s Give to Children and Child Life Programs, which aids ill children and their families while staying at the hospital and makes sure the child’s stay is fun and, according to Elliot, “not too scary.”  In the doctor-free zone, Child Life provides games, toys, video games, books and hosts events so the “kids can be kids and not just patients.”

Having been a patient himself, Elliot knows how important it is to have programs like the Child Life Program. Elliot was born with a club foot, and after being told he would never walk, Elliot underwent serious foot surgeries and procedures at the Pittsburg Children’s Hospital to correct his deformity.  Now that Elliot is better, he wants to give back to the hospital that helped him get on his feet and especially to the kids who are patients there.

In addition to raising money through his baseball performance, Elliot recruited the Altoona Curve, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Double-A affiliate to host a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital.  He sent letters to businesses seeking sponsorship and collected silent auction items and sold raffle tickets. That night he raised $800.  Elliot also encourages kids everywhere to donate crafts and become a pen pal to a patient at the hospital.

Elliot has received a lot of support from his community and even from major league relief pitcher Jason Grilli, who used his business website, Wild Pitch Marketing, to promote Elliot’s mission.  In addition to Elliot’s blog, he uses all forms of social media to promote his efforts.  He has a facebook profile, uses twitter and posts videos on youtube to network and share his mission to help kids in the hospital.   In the future he wants to design and sell t-shirts to help raise money.  He’s always thinking of ways to fundraise for the Child Life program.

In the United States, about 30 million children and teens participate in some form of organized sports, imagine how much money could be raised if all of us “pitched in and got involved,” by taking Elliot’s challenge this baseball season!

Posted via email from KooDooZ

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ideate. innovate. inspire. implement. invest.

I am humbled and excited to join some of the most creative and innovative minds in the field of “doing good” as a speaker at the 2011 !deation Conference.  This year’s theme is “Love Human. Invest Good,” with conversations centered around how both the non-profit and for-profit sectors can work together for better human care.

A true “un-conference” in its’ design and layout, Charles Lee — CEO and Founder of Ideation Consultancy– is committed to cultivating the best conversations in social innovation.  Look at the line-up of speakers and you’ll see a long list of people who have made radical impact on the world.  But the gem here is that the speakers are purposed to spark conversation, while the participants are meant to carry the dialogue. 

Through this approach, the conference enables attendees to consider the implementation ideas of our peers against or own organizational problem-solving practices. 

ideate. innovate. inspire. implement. invest.

“Innovation is changing from top-down genius to bottom-up social evolution driven by young people’s need to connect.”
~ Graham Brown mobileYouth

My presentation, this year, will focus on the pressing need I see for more non-profits to invest in cradle-to-career humanitarian impact opportunities (not just education) for kids — starting in early childhood and extending all the way thru college. 

The complexity of humanitarian issues do not have to forfeit youth involvement.  Young people feel they should have a say in the future and the world we will be living in, and not only suffer the consequences of previous generations.

No more slactivism, no more ageism.  More non-profits have to learn what their corporate counterparts already know:  empower youth to impact your brand destiny, for they are powerful allies to have, with global reach.

Social media and mobile phones have accelerated the global reach of us all, but with smart phones and computers in the hands of kids as young as 7 years old, the awareness and compassion to what’s happening in this world has heightened at a much earlier age for the connected generation.

More to the point, if mobileYouth is correct in their predictions, then within 5 years there will be more mobile-owning youth living in rural villages than people in the entire United States. 

The conversation I would like to spark at !deation is:  Why public and private sectors should build better dialogue with the grassroots of youth who are not facing humanitarian strife.

Posted via email from KooDooZ