|We are humbled by the Cy Young Award recognition of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. This honor is deeply appreciated, and of course, also attributed to talents of my Dodger teammates. I never thought in a million years I'd get a chance to even be in the conversation for it. It definitely has not sunk in yet, and I don't know if it ever will.
With the baseball season over, and another trip to Zambia planned for this winter with Arise Africa, we want to take the time to reflect on the blessings from Kershaw's Challenge. Our vision to make this baseball season about something much greater than ourselves began during Spring Training while living in Phoenix, Arizona. We had recently returned from our first mission trip to Africa together, and were inspired to do something that would make a tangible difference. One thing we were certain of, we could not do it alone. We began praying for the people who would come along side of us, and make this their vision as well. We hoped that others would feel inspired, and the calling to be a part of something bigger than baseball and ourselves.
As for an update on Hope's Home... we are on our way! As you know, we have bumped up our goal to $100,000, and it is within arms reach! Through lots of prayer, and fundraising this off-season, we are confident that we will be ready to break ground on the home in the next couple months. A huge Thank You to the Dodgers organization who gave us $10,000. Your contribution is significant, and we are so grateful for your support throughout the season. As of right now we have raised $93,170. As we near our goal, we are really hopeful that we will even exceed our expectations and go over it. The $100,000 will just be for building the house – not many of the other needs are covered in that total. Anything over that will go towards buying furniture, school supplies, medical care, and sustaining the orphanage until we can find financial sponsors for all the children who live there.
Arise Africa has purchased land for the orphanage in a great area. There are many schools, clinics, and stores around the land. We are excited to meet with architects in Zambia in January to go over blueprints and plans to build. Our goal is to create a family environment, where children will have personal attention, space, and significance in the home.
We will continue to send autographed baseballs and 8x10 photos for donations over $100 (photo) and $300 (baseball) until February. The autographed jerseys are limited (5 left), and we will cut off sending them the 1st of December. Donations of $1,000 received before then will receive an autographed jersey.
We are humbled by how you have joined us in this Challenge. Whether you have helped spread the word, prayed for our mission, or given financially, you have become an integral part of building this orphanage. We all play a crucial role. Some of us are called to go and serve – to physically hug the children, and bring them hope. But our services wouldn't be nearly as effective if we didn't have the love and support of those back home. Never underestimate what your role is. What we have seen this season through the support Dodger fans and friends of Kershaw's Challenge has inspired us to continue our mission to give back next season. We are excited about what new challenge we will take on next year. You have inspired us, and we are excited to partner with you again next season.
Thank you for your support as we continue to work towards building Hope's Home. Like we said earlier, we could not do this without the help of others.
Clayton & Ellen Kershaw