Seattle’s Best Sports Event. Ever.
Guest blogger Constance McBarron is a volunteer on the Emerging Leader Marketing Committee and a PR professional at Barokas Public Relations. Check out why she thinks the All-Star Softball Classic for Homeless Youth is the best sports event. Ever.
It started out as a typical day at Safeco Field:
• Fun in the sun? Check.
• Beer and hot dog in hand? Check and check.
• Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner? Wait… where am I?
Last Saturday, over 6,500 people gathered at Safeco Field to watch celebs and volunteers play a friendly softball game to raise money and awareness for Seattle’s homeless youth. As a lifelong Seattle sports fan, I got a huge kick out of watching Ozzie Alonso, Jermaine Kearse, and Gary “The Glove” Payton unite on Team Dan Wilson against their (current or former) teammates Lamar Neagle, Cliff Avril and Shawn Kemp on Team Jay Buhner. As an ‘end homeless now’ advocate, I was overwhelmed by the staggering statistics United Way shared during the game.
Did you know…?
• 1 in 33 King County youth identify as homeless.
• 1 in 3 youth aging out of foster care at 18 becomes homeless.
• It is estimated that 1 in 5 homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.
Even though I hear about homelessness regularly as a volunteer with United Way of King County Emerging Leaders, statistics like these still shock me. But fret not, friend, it’s not all bad news.
• Formerly homeless youth and Team Jay member Montrai Williams spoke at the event, thanking attendees for their support. Through United Way and their partner, The Mockingbird Society, Montrai has finally found housing and support. Now she can focus on working and school, two things that just aren’t priorities when you have to work to survive on the streets.
• This just in: We raised over $1 million during the event to go towards United Way’s goal that when homelessness occurs, it is rare, brief, and never repeated. United Way supports a variety of organizations that, together, provide wraparound services for homeless youth to find shelter and housing, find and train for employment, and receive the care and support needed.
• There are so many opportunities for you to help! If those homelessness statistics shock you, too, I invite you to join me in helping. Run a food supply drive, grab some friends/neighbors/co-workers and volunteer at a shelter, or sponsor a homeless kid’s birthday party. If you are in your 20’s and 30’s and want to make a difference, join me in Emerging Leaders.
Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was the Coors Light, but I left the softball game super excited and motivated to kick homelessness to the curb. Team Dan (the Man) may have won the softball game, but with your help, we all can win this fight to end youth homelessness for good.