04/27/2009 5:05 PM ET
Jim Thome and Paul Konerko go to bat for foster kids
Sluggers Kick Off Third Year of Partnership with Children's Home + Aid
CHICAGO - Chicago White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome and first baseman Paul Konerko, along with their wives Andrea Thome and Jennifer Konerko, are continuing their efforts to raise awareness and support for the needs of foster children and families in Illinois for a third straight season through the 2009 Bring Me Home Campaign. The two families are launching the campaign in partnership with Children's Home + Aid, a leading child and family service agency in Illinois.
Through the efforts of the Thome and Konerko families and the White Sox, the first two years of the Bring Me Home Campaign raised more than $163,000 to benefit foster children and families served by Children's Home + Aid. As the campaign's message has spread, it has inspired families to open their homes to foster children by becoming licensed foster families through Children's Home + Aid.
Anyone can participate in the campaign by joining Team Thome and Konerko through a pledge based on the players' runs scored or through a one-time donation at www.childrenshomeandaid.org. The runs scored by Jim Thome and Paul Konerko will be tracked online throughout the 2009 baseball season. All proceeds of the Bring Me Home Campaign will go to help Illinois foster children and families. Participants have a chance to win prizes, White Sox memorabilia and invitations to the Bring Me Home Campaign "Grand Slam Party" held at U.S. Cellular Field during the offseason.
The Thome and Konerko families along with the White Sox have worked closely with Children's Home + Aid to promote the needs of foster children and families through public service announcements, media interviews, an Op-ed to move important foster care legislation, holiday gift drives and shopping sprees for foster kids. Last month, the Thomes and Konerkos invited and hosted a Children's Home + Aid foster family at the new White Sox spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz.
The White Sox will host Children's Home + Aid Foster Family Day at the Park on May 23, 2009 for foster children and families and for Children's Home + Aid foster care staff. All participants of Foster Family Day at the Park will be invited to march in an on-field parade before the game.
"The Thomes and Konerkos are making a tremendous impact on our foster children. To have these sports legends go to bat for them is something our foster children will always remember," said Nancy Ronquillo, president & CEO of Children's Home + Aid. "We are very grateful to the Thomes and Konerkos for 'giving back' in this profound way and also to the Chicago White Sox organization, who has been equally dedicated to this effort."
Children's Home + Aid honored Jim and Andrea Thome and Paul and Jennifer Konerko last year with its highest honor, the For the Love of Children Award, given in recognition of their remarkable support and commitment to foster children and families.
"We truly view our partnership with Children's Home + Aid as a family effort," said Jim Thome. "Along with Paul and Jennifer, Andrea and myself hope that our participation not only brings awareness to foster care in the state of Illinois, but also helps Children's Home + Aid build a better life for families."
"Having grown up in a family that was active in foster care, I can attest firsthand as to the impact a positive environment can have on children," said Jennifer Konerko. "That is one of the many reasons the partnership is important to us."
About Children's Home + Aid
For more information about Children's Home + Aid or to participate in the Bring Me Home Campaign, visit www.childrenshomeandaid.org.
Children's Home + Aid is a leading child and family service agency in Illinois. Each year, it protects, educates and counsels more than 40,000 children, youth and families to improve their lives. Since 1883, Children's Home + Aid has been a compassionate advocate helping to shape public policy in child welfare, early childhood and juvenile justice. Children's Home + Aid is recognized for establishing best practices and achieving outstanding results through its programs and services that focus on child abuse prevention, healthy child development and strengthening families.