COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Team for Tomorrow Humanitarian Relief Fund, which was launched by America's Olympic and Paralympic athletes and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) in 2008, is continuing to make a difference for those in need around the world. The newest class of Team for Tomorrow announced details of the 2010 program today, including visits to children's hospitals and schools to spread the Olympic Ideals, holiday give-aways to at-needs children, the donation of service hours to Habitat for Humanity and the 2010 Team for Tomorrow Athlete Ambassadors.
Team for Tomorrow is a humanitarian relief effort through which U.S. athletes offer assistance and support to people around the world who are in need. Humanitarian relief and assistance takes place in the form of donations, volunteerism, disaster recovery support, advocacy and other contributions to communities. The program offers U.S. athletes a way to stay connected to sport in a meaningful way, finding new significance in what it means to represent our country.
"I'm super excited to be involved with Team for Tomorrow," Athlete Ambassador and alpine skier Steven Nyman said. "Having a group of passionate, inspiring athletes working together to give back to our communities and inspire others to do so is extremely powerful."
In the spirit of the holiday season, U.S. athletes are demonstrating their goodwill and their belief in giving back. Between now and the end of the month, 2010 U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls around the country will visit children's hospitals and at-needs schools. They'll share their journeys of determination and commitment to reaching their goal - the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games - while encouraging children to reach for their dreams.
In addition, the athletes will donate special Team for Tomorrow digital cameras as gifts. Team for Tomorrow holiday visits scheduled to-date include:
"Over the last decade schools have continually been forced to do what we do with fewer resources as costs associated with education continue to rise," said Charlie Campbell, Principal of Greenway High School in Coleraine, Minn. "The items and gifts the athletes are bringing will impact a classroom of students for years to come. Thank you Team for Tomorrow!"
Team for Tomorrow will also connect 2010 U.S. Olympians and Paralympians with Habitat for Humanity affiliates in their hometown communities following their return from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. U.S. athletes will donate service hours, building houses in partnership with families in need and giving back to their local communities throughout the United States.
"I decided to get involved with Team for Tomorrow because it provides an opportunity to serve and give back to those in need," Athlete Ambassador and skeleton athlete Noelle Pikus-Pace said. "As athletes we are able to represent our country in competitions around the world. Team for Tomorrow allows us to represent our country through humanitarian relief, volunteerism and other contributions to communities. I can't think of a better way to represent the USA."
Service hours will also include an "Olympic and Paralympic Build Day with Habitat for Humanity," bringing a group of U.S. teammates together after their time at the Games to team up off the athletic field - this time, to help build a home in the spirit of Team for Tomorrow. A similar "Olympic and Paralympic Build Day with Habitat for Humanity" took place after the 2008 Games, with 12 athletes, coaches and hopefuls working on two houses in Colorado Springs, Colo., throughout the all-day build, doing everything from cutting steel beams to installing insulation to nailing down sub-flooring.
The 2010 Team for Tomorrow class of Athlete Ambassadors represents all eight winter National Governing Bodies and U.S. Paralympics. The Athlete Ambassadors serve as captains of Team for Tomorrow on behalf of the entire 2010 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. The select group of athletes acts as advocates and champions of the effort, educating their U.S. teammates and spreading awareness about Team for Tomorrow's causes.
Team for Tomorrow Athlete Ambassadors for the 2010 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams:
o Tony Benshoof, Luge
o John Benton, Curling
o Caitlin Cahow, Ice Hockey
o Rachael Flatt, Figure Skating
o Haley Johnson, Biathlon
o Taylor Lipsett, Sled Hockey
o Steven Nyman, Alpine Skiing
o Augusto Perez, Paralympic Curling
o Noelle Pikus-Pace, Skeleton
o Katherine Reutter, Speedskating
o Liz Stephen, Cross Country Skiing
o Curt Tomasevicz, Bobsled
o Stephani Victor, Paralympic Alpine Skiing
"Getting involved with Team for Tomorrow gives me a way to give to back," Reutter said. "I think all athletes are interested in giving back in any way possible, but with our hectic training and competition schedules, sometimes it's hard to find the right program. Team for Tomorrow makes it easy to get involved and to also come together as teammates representing the USA."
Earlier this month, on behalf of Team for Tomorrow and America's athletes, the USOC donated nearly 25,000 items of athletic apparel and equipment to National Olympic Committees in Africa, Fondation Internationale OlympAfrica, and the people of Afghanistan through Kabul's Bagram Air Force Base.
In 2008, Team for Tomorrow's first initiative provided 1,000 disaster relief tents to families that lost their homes during the earthquakes that struck China's Sichuan Province in May 2008, and U.S. athletes donated hundreds of service hours to Habitat for Humanity after returning from the Games.