I'll keep this short - and I promise we'll get back to baseball this afternoon - but I wanted to take a minute and tell you about another project I've had the privilege of being involved with, and share a couple easy ways you can help.
In June, I started volunteering with a Northern Virginia-based organization called Heart4Kids. The woman who runs it, Sandra Denenga, was born in Zimbabwe and came to the United States in the 1990s. When she went back home to see her aging father in 2003, her brother suddenly died - and no one knew he was sick. You can probably figure out what happened: He was infected with AIDS, as far too many people in Africa are, and because medical care in Zimbabwe (and most of Africa) is so poor, nobody knew he had the disease.
Anyway, his death left his young daughter, Sandra's niece, as an orphan. There are thousands of kids in the same situation in Africa, after their parents either die of AIDS or become too sick to care for them, and many of them end up homeless or worse. And to make matters worse in Zimbabwe, there's an oppressive political regime in place that makes other countries reluctant to send international aid there, for fear that President Robert Mugabe's administration will intercept it and use it for its own purposes. Sandra started Heart4Kids to help care for the AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe, many of whom have HIV themselves and are living without basic care. She's heading there with a team next week to open an AIDS orphanage in Zimbabwe, and is planning to expand it in the next few years. She's got a full-time job in Northern Virginia, and is currently funding the charity with her own money, but she always says she's committed to fighting for these kids, even if it's with her own finances.
If you're interested in helping, you can check it out here, or visit it on Facebook, Causes or Twitter. And I started a Holiday Wish on Causes to raise $1,000 for Heart4Kids before the orphanage opens the week after Christmas. It's a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so anything you donate is tax-deductible.
So those are the basics, and I'll get back to writing about baseball this afternoon. I just wanted to share a little bit about it with you guys; it's something I'm passionate about and since you were all so generous in pitching in for Race for the Cure in June, I thought I'd let you know about another cool cause before the holidays. If you've got any questions about it, I'd be happy to answer them. Thanks!