Friday, July 24, 2009


During this year’s All-Star game, my wife, daughters, and I were road-tripping across the country. As we traveled in a Chevy Chase National Lampoon’s Vacation–like manner, we listened to the game on the radio. I was fascinated by the pre-game tributes and wished I could have seen Stan “The Man” Musial’s facial expressions as the sell-out crowd honored his legacy.

I was particularly moved by the ALL-STARS AMONG US tribute that our living Presidents presented. Later, I was able to watch this inspiring tribute at: I have not stopped thinking about it. I’ve thought about how it seemed two years ago volunteerism was contagious. Remember Oprah’s THE BIG GIVE reality TV show? Around the same time, many people were reading and discussing President Clinton’s book GIVING. It seemed churches, schools, business, and neighborhoods were teaming to support those who were in need more than ever. Although some of this momentum remains, I can’t help but ask, “Can or should we be doing even more?”

With all the work I have done in schools, I have been a part of many causes that reach out to those who are struggling. No matter what the drive is, it seems many of the neediest families are the ones who donate the most food, clothing, care packages for soldiers, and money for penny wars. I once saw a single, working poor mother carry in over 10 bags of groceries to donate to our food drive! I asked other principals if they’ve noticed the phenomenon of many of the neediest families giving the most. They too have seen it. Our best conjecture is that these once barely surviving families are perhaps the most generous because they know firsthand just how critical those donations are to the survival of someone who is down and out. Therefore, at a time in their lives when they consider themselves as surviving comfortably, they want to give back to the food shelters and thrift stores who supported them back when they needed the help.

No doubt times are tough in our economy. Donating money at a time when many families are already struggling is very challenging. However, donations can come in the form of one’s time. We can help others meet their basic needs by simply volunteering some of our time and finding ways to provide words of encouragement and compassion to those around us.

I have decided that I will donate 10 percent of the royalties I receive from COUNTY STADIUM KID to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. and will blog about this decision more in the near future.

I hope you too reflect on how you might support those who are in need. Now more than ever our neighbors need us. To help each other brainstorm how our talents and resources can best be shared, please comment below or tweet to some of the ALL-STARS AMONG YOU. Also, please do not be shy to comment on the ALL-STAR WITHIN YOURSELF who might be shining bright in your community. The people you highlight or the acts of kindness that you perform could inspire other readers to go on and help others, who then may also in turn help others, and so on .… The impact that your commitment to this cause or any cause will have is infinite.

Here are my two ALL-STARS AMONG US selections:

1) THE TIME IS NOW. Simply click on any one of these letters and see how Sal and his foundation’s supporters reach out to those in need in their community.

2) The team behind the award-winning children’s book A GLOVE OF THEIR OWN is challenging people to donate used sporting equipment to boys and girls in their communities who cannot afford their own equipment. My daughters and I love reading this book! Its “Play it forward” message resonates on so many levels, well beyond the baseball field.

Please comment below to recognize your own ALL-STAR AMONG US status or to recognize some other ALL-STARS from your communities. We need at least 18 to have two starting line-ups, and 5 people who leave comments to this post will be randomly selected to receive a free copy of A GLOVE OF THEIR OWN courtesy of Todd Civin and Bob Saloman.


  1. @EverydayJourney I represented the Milwaukee Brewers @ the All-Star Game

  2. Good Morning Joel,
    I came across your blog only moments ago. I was nominated and eventually voted in to represent the Milwaukee Brewers in People Magazine and Major League Baseball's All-Stars Among Us campaign. Last week was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Walking out onto the field, the ceremony televised to 200 Million people worldwide, and then having the 5 Living Presidents honor me and the other 29 All-Stars, mind-boggling really.

    My nomination came about because of my Everyday Journeyman project, a call to action for people young and old, rich and poor, from all backgrounds to push themselves to do seemingly incredible things. Too often people have mental blocks and don't think they can do things, instead of taking a moment for a leap of faith and really push themselves beyond their imagined limits.

    In January, I completed a 4000 mile trek from London England to Banjul Gambia in West Africa, with local women's services, school, and infrastructure receiving several thousand dollars raised by the auctioning of my vehicle and equipment. Then in April, I started the first leg of a 2000 mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. Pledges and money raised goes directly to Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (HFHMGC) for Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts. People Magazine and MLB say I take an "adventurous approach to fundraising," but its the only approach I know. You do what works and speaks directly to your heart.

    My affiliation with Habitat for Humanity with certainly continue into next year and beyond. I worked in 2007 as their National Media Spokesperson, traveling the country to speak to millions of people about the joys of volunteering your time, your goods, and your services to help your fellow man. Going on television was a great way to get that message out but also going to conferences, sporting events, state fairs, and even schools.

    I saw that you're an elementary school principal. From K-8, to high schools, and colleges, I feel the best way to get people impassioned about philanthropy and non-profit organizations is to start young. Those speaking engagements were the most exciting for me but also gave me the most captive audience of all. I hope you've been able to have similar events in the past at your school, they are truly worthwhile.

    I just wanted to thank you for your blog and wish you luck on all that you do. Once I complete the current leg of the Everyday Journeyman project, works begins on next year (it never ends). We're looking at a 4000 kilometre bike ride from Canada to Mexico (The Great Divide), as well as the start of the Seven Summits.

    Thanks again and have a great weekend,

    Loyal Mehnert, The Everyday Journeyman

    For more information, you can visit:

    TMJ4 and the Journal Sentinel did reports last week as well: