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08/15/2010 2:20 PM ET
Angels and Heart of a Champion Foundation team up to change futures of Orange County youth
Angels Baseball Foundation and Torii Hunter Project reach over 3,000 students in 2009-10
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The Angels Baseball Foundation, along with the Heart of a Champion Foundation, have teamed up to change the lives and futures of children in Orange County. Implemented at five Orange County schools, the Heart of a Champion curriculum reached over 3,000 students in the 2009-10 school year.

The Heart of a Champion Foundation, a program supported by the Torii Hunter Project, is a non-profit organization that offers educators an innovative and effective approach to developing character in the lives of their students. The mission of the foundation is to address the current crisis of character in our nation by reaching the hearts of students with engaging stories of individuals from the world of sports, history, the arts and other areas of life through group mentoring.

"I am very pleased to see the Heart of a Champion program being utilized within our community," Torii Hunter said. "It is important for today's youth to understand how much their character defines them as a person throughout their lifetime."

The Heart of a Champion curriculum was deployed at two Anaheim middle schools, Savanna and South Jr. High, as well as three high schools in the city of Orange, Community Day School, McPherson Magnet School and El Modena High School. As a result of the curriculum, over 92 percent of those participating saw a rise in individual self-esteem levels while 66% indicated a desire to be a person of good character.

Speaking on the effectiveness of the program, Amanda Echavarria, a teacher at El Modena High School stated, "The Heart of a Champion material has been extremely beneficial to the Freshman Seminar curriculum. It allows for moral and ethical issues of debate in my classes and gives students the opportunity to really process and determine where they thrive or need growth in the areas of character. The Heart of a Champion is completely relevant and age appropriate for our freshman. I have enjoyed using them in my classroom."

Leoanna Dominguez, a sixth-grade student from Savanna expressed her gratitude by saying, "I wanted to thank you for letting us learn more about other people and to never give up. You have helped every student improve."

As part of the ongoing effort to transform the lives of local youth, the Torii Hunter Project also provided college scholarships to 10 students from the Orangewood Children's Home.

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