Prior to Game Four of the World Series in Detroit, Clayton Kershaw was awarded the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award in a pregame ceremony. It was nice to see Kersh for a moment on television as he accepted the much deserved honor. He becomes the youngest recipient of the award which has been presented since 1971.
The Roberto Clemente Award is bestowed upon one Major League Baseball player who best represents the game both on and off the field through positive contributions like good sportsmanship and community involvement. Clayton Kershaw exemplifies the significance of this award by being both an inspiration on the mound and through his charity work outside the diamond. Roberto Clemente, a hall-of-famer, died tragically in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while trying to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig had this to say about Kershaw:
“Major League Baseball is proud to present our most prestigious off-field honor, the Roberto Clemente Award, to Clayton Kershaw. His accomplishments on the mound at such a young age are well known to baseball fans, but I am delighted that our game can shine a light on Clayton’s extraordinary efforts with his wife Ellen to make a difference in the lives of children in Zambia. Clayton Kershaw is a leader through his inspiring example, and he is a wonderful representation of the enduring, philanthropic spirit of Roberto Clemente.”
Clayton Kershaw and his wife Ellen Melson Kershaw founded Kershaw’s Challenge together. The charity gives back to at-risk children and communities in need. Kershaw’s Challenge has donated to several organizations, but their main efforts goes toward Arise Africa. An orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia called “Hope’s Home” has been built and will be sustained by Arise Africa with help from the Kershaws. Ellen and Clayton visit Zambia every year to raise awareness for the cause and to visit the inspirational children of Zambia.
Ellen met a young HIV positive orphan, Hope, four years ago in Zambia. Hope and Ellen became inseparable, and she is the inspiration behind the orphanage which is almost ready for the children to move into.
Ellen and Clayton co-wrote a book entitled Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find
Yourself. Proceeds from the book go to Hope’s Home.
Clayton Kershaw has also participated in numerous other charitable community programs sponsored by the Dodgers, and Kershaw’s Challenge has donated to foundations in Los Angeles and in his hometown of Dallas, Texas.
Clayton’s reaction to receiving the honor was the following:
“Just being associated with someone like Roberto Clemente is truly humbling and I am extremely grateful.”
Lasorda’s Lair congratulates Clayton Kershaw on this prestigious honor, and we salute both Clayton and Ellen for their philanthropy and for the love in their heart for children who are in need.
As a mother of two children, when I look at the faces of the children in Zambia from the pictures of Clayton and Ellen’s visits, I can’t help but get emotional. Every child is so special, and each deserves to be able to grow up healthy so that they may follow their dreams regardless of nationality.
You can read more about Kershaw’s Challenge or donate on the official website.