It has always been one of the most heart warming things I love about Gary, his dedication to giving back to causes he believes in. Gary speaks tirelessly for women’s leagues and book clubs and charity events, hosting everything from one on one conversations to huge galas and live auctions, and often at my request as he sits on the board for Dallas Uncorked.
It is also a trait he has passed along to his twenty-something girls, and traits that I have noticed many of their friends share in the same spirit. I read an article in the paper the other day about two of Corinne’s high school friends, Clayton and Ellen Kershaw, the incredible sports star and his high school sweetheart (who truly is a sweetheart) who together are following their hearts and using their place in society to give back in a completely selfless way.
Most people know Clayton Kershaw as the star pitcher for the LA Dodgers who graduated Highland Park High and went directly into the major league, with his rocket of an arm bringing him the Cy Young title last year at the young age of 24, along with the Gold Glove award. However, Clayton and his young wife Ellen, whom he started dating in 9th grade, have much more on their minds, in their hearts, and on their travel plans, than just going back and forth to the next major league game.
Most of this starts in Zambia, Africa where Ellen has been traveling since she got out of high school, helping the people of the village, driven by her faith and determination to help in anyway she could. When she and Clayton married 2 years ago she enlisted him to help as well, and the duo together have found a way to make a significant impact. Clayton started “Kershaw’s Challenge” donating $100 for each strike out he got last year = 248, which ended up being a $202,000 donation after matching contributions were tallied, given to help build Hope’s Home for HIV positive children in Zambia. The home is almost ready and they are now working to fill the home with toys, sponsorships, furniture and pay for legal fees for Christmas, creating Kershaw’s Challenge Christmas.
We had dinner with Clayton and Ellen shortly before they were married, and just like Gary’s girls Corinne and Carly, these sweet kids are blessed with smart minds, kind hearts and understand the importance of giving back. Lucky for us, Clayton and Ellen have a chance to use their status for good and getting the word out about a cause that is so important to them both. This year Clayton won the Roberto Clemente Award for humanitarianism, a significant achievement for someone so young, and for someone with such a giving spirit, one that would mean as much as any other achievement in baseball.
If you have the ability to help, please consider it this holiday season.