By USOC | Nov. 21, 2012, 2 p.m. (ET)
 Oliver and Manzano at Team for Tomorrow
 David Oliver (L) and Leo Manzano
volunteering with Team for Tomorrow.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, Team USA athletes are saying thanks and giving back. U.S. Olympians and Paralympians have teamed up as part of Team for Tomorrow, a program encompassing Team USA’s humanitarian relief efforts, to volunteer in their local communities, including those affected by Superstorm Sandy in the northeastern United States. Activities include athlete visits to YMCAs across the country as well as donations to disaster relief efforts.

“Giving back to communities in need truly illustrates how the Olympic Movement transcends sport, whether it’s an athlete visiting a local sport organization to inspire young people or donations made to disaster relief efforts,” said USOC Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer Patrick Sandusky. “The USOC is proud to spread the Olympic Ideals and thankful to U.S. athletes for leading the efforts of Team for Tomorrow.”

On behalf of Team for Tomorrow, the U.S. Olympic Committee donated 5,000 fleece jackets to Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey, which will be distributed to people who lost similar items to October’s storm and are in need of warm clothing. This donation is in line with Team for Tomorrow’s history of disaster relief efforts. In 2008, the USOC donated 1,000 relief tents to survivors of the earthquakes in China’s Sichuan province, and in 2010, the USOC shipped thousands of dollars of sporting equipment, shoes, water filtration systems, jump ropes and first aid kids to the Haitian Olympic Committee following its own devastating earthquake near Port-au-Prince.

In addition to disaster relief, Team for Tomorrow is about Team USA athletes giving back to their local communities. U.S. athletes committed to visiting their local YMCAs – both in the lead up to and following the London Games – to not only share their experiences, but to talk to youth about the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle and to say thank you to the communities where they live and train. Hundreds of young people have been inspired by these Olympians and Paralympians in more than a dozen locations all over the United States, and with a handful of visits still on the calendar, the giving continues.

“Giving back to the community is an important part of being an Olympian because you truly get to impact others,” said Heather O’Reilly, three-time Olympic soccer gold medalist and 2012 Team for Tomorrow Athlete Ambassador, who visited the Wang YMCA in Boston, Mass., before the London Games. “Whenever I work with young people, I leave smiling. Their passion for soccer and for life is infectious, and I’m proud to say that even though I’m the one showing them soccer drills, I learn from them as well.”

Other athletes who have gotten involved in 2012 include:
 
•    Tony Azevedo, water polo
•    Donn Cabral, track & field
•    Rachel Dawson, field hockey
•    Heather Erickson, sitting volleyball
•    Anjali Forber-Pratt, Paralympic track & field
•    Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Paralympic swimming
•    Jessica Hardy, swimming
•    Trevon Jenifer, wheelchair basketball
•    Carmelita Jeter, track & field
•    Gwen Jorgensen, triathlon
•    Kaleo Kanahele, sitting volleyball
•    Leo Manzano, track & field
•    LaShawn Merritt, track & field
•    Heather Mitts, soccer
•    Tim Morehouse, fencing
•    David Oliver, track & field
•    Ileana Rodriguez, Paralympic swimming
•    Alice Schmidt, track & field
•    Mary Whipple, rowing
 
“It was really cool to meet Carmelita because most people don’t get a chance to meet an Olympic champion or anyone that has even been a part of the Olympics,” said Victoria Munoz, 11, who participated in a Nov. 16, Team for Tomorrow event at the Torrance-South Bay YMCA in Torrance, Calif. which featured three-time Olympic medalist in track & field Carmelita Jeter. “When she talked about being the fastest woman alive, I was really surprised and excited because I too love track & field. Carmelita Jeter is awesome!”

For more information on upcoming Team for Tomorrow athlete visits, please visit TeamUSA.org.

About Team for Tomorrow
Team for Tomorrow is a humanitarian relief fund through which U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes provide support and give back to local communities and people in need throughout the world. Launched in 2008 in partnership with America's athletes, the fund also serves as a platform for athletes to continue spreading the Olympic Ideals of peace, goodwill, tolerance and harmony. For more information, click here.

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