Nov. 1, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico baseball team was recently awarded the first annual Lobo Service Award for their work in the community during the 2011-12 school year. The award honors the athletic team which has demonstrated significant leadership in their contributions to the life and welfare of the people of New Mexico by completing the most hours of community service per student-athlete. Head coach Ray Birmingham couldn’t be prouder that his team won it.
“This is a big deal for me,” he said. “I’m an old school coach, and I believe in raising young men and teaching them to let go of themselves and help others. It’s a big deal.”
The baseball team averaged nearly 35 hours of service per student-athlete and volunteered a total of 1,285 hours of service that also led all athletic programs.
“Baseball is to be congratulated for their commitment to the Albuquerque community,” Associate Athletic Director for Student Development Henry Villegas said. “Service is definitely valued by the program as is reflected by the hundreds of hours volunteered by our not only baseball but all of our student-athletes to the youth in the city. Overall UNM student-athletes completed approximately 8,400 hours of community service.”
The baseball team’s 35 student-athletes volunteered at a number of different organizations across the state including: Power Pals, a mentoring and reading program at Kirtland Elementary; La Familia, a social service agency that provides treatment foster care as well as several out-patient counseling services to children and families; Little Leagues in Albuquerque, Farmington, Artesia, and Hobbs; The Ranches, an organization that promotes opportunity meaningful help to struggling children and their families; From the Heart Foundation, a non-profit committed to serving the needs of families in need by financially and emotionally creating a safe and healthy environment in which to live; UNM Children’s Hospital, where the team and Birmingham visited young cancer patients; and youth coaching clinics across the state.
“We’re sending them out (into the world),” Birmingham said about his players. “Professional baseball is the dream of all of them, but for many of them they’ll be members of a community, and I want them, wherever they go from here, to become leaders in the community and to serve others the right way.”