Back to School Bash with the Dream Center, Los Angeles

Kershaw's Challenge was thrilled to once again partner with the Dream Center in Los Angeles for their annual Back to School Bash.  The Dream Center is an incredible organization with an impactful mission: “Reconnecting isolated people to God and a community of support by providing human services that address immediate and long-term needs in the areas of homelessness, hunger relief, medical care and education.”

You can read more about our incredible partners at the Dream Center here - https://www.kershawschallenge.com/dream-center-los-angeles/

Last Saturday the Dream Center put together an incredible Back to School Bash where 2,500 children received new backpacks filled with school supplies!  The day started early with many families lining up to enjoy the festivities.

It is important to Clayton and Ellen that their children are a part of the work of Kershaw's Challenge.  It was a joy to watch their daughter Cali participate in handing out backpacks to all the kids.

The families enjoyed a carnival style party with games, bounce houses, face painting, and a petting zoo.  

Kershaw's Challenge was grateful for the support of UCLA and Papa John's Pizza who participated with us at the event.  Thank you so much for your support of Kershaw's Challenge and the Dream Center!

There was even a booth providing free back to school haircuts.

What a successful event!  Thank you to everyone who came together to provide such wonderful support for so many children heading back to school next month.

All Star Game

Enjoy these family photos from the Kershaw's trip to the All Star Game in Miami last week!

The Kershaw family after the home run derby.

Riding in the parade

Walking the red carpet

One in a Million

 

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw is best known for the curveball Vin Scully dubbed “Public Enemy Number One.” But Clayton sees his ability to throw a baseball as just one way he lives out his passion for God. In Arise, he teams up with his wife, Ellen, to share what they have learned about making a difference in the world while living out your God-given dreams.

Enjoy this excerpt from Clayton and Ellen's book, Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

1 Timothy 4:12

 

            Life is often defined by unexpected moments. Sometimes we feel them coming, but more often than not, they sneak up on us. Other times apparently small, insignificant moments are drawn together to change our lives. You don’t have to live ninety years to feel the weight of these particular moments. Your next moment could be a defining one. I am only 23 years old, but I can already trace certain moments that had a lasting impact. These moments built courage, brought heartache, and taught me humility. They pointed out my youthful pride and stubborn nature. I now see a little bit more how God’s grace was at work in a young kid who had a lot to learn and a determination to beat the odds. One moment in particular still rings in my mind.

            I was fourteen years old: a gangly, slightly chubby freshman in high school. After a year of reveling in the supreme reign as the big 8th grade men on the middle school campus my buddies and I were once again the smallest guys during passing period. We were back at the bottom of the totem pole. Everyone else seemed to have found the groove of high school. They were confident and smart, starters on the football, baseball and basketball teams. Upper classmen. We were humbled by a new school, new faces, and most of all, by the new pressure to find a voice among the multitudes. Sure, we knew we had work to do in the classroom. But for my buddies and me, we were particularly interested in making a statement on the field.

            Particularly in Texas, football take precedence over just about every sport, even baseball. I was a big kid, so initially it seemed like natural fit for me. Whatever I played, I just wanted to make an impact. Highland Park football has a great winning tradition, and it was a rush to be a part of a team that was so established and legendary. We all felt the need to make a name for ourselves and make others think that we were something. Playing football was a great way to begin high school—going out for the team, grinding through practices with friends, and representing our school during game. Still, nothing captured my heart like baseball.

            For the most part, we went into high school with all of our friends from middle school. There were some new faces on the first day of school, but more or less, my eighth grade friends became my classmates at Highland Park High School. I had a tight knit group of guys who had been my best friends since third grade. We did everything together, from sports to carpool to awkward eighth grade dances. We weren’t too interested in girls, but slowly our friend group expanded and we saw the social benefit of getting to know a few of them. In particular, there was one girl that caught my eye. Ellen was funny and seemed comfortable in her own skin. I enjoyed hanging out with her so much that I found myself going to great lengths just to be around her. That’s how I found myself in an optional student leadership class that met for thirteen weeks on Monday evenings. Not really my kind of thing…but then again, Ellen was in it. The administration had recommended underclassmen who showed early signs of leadership. Ellen was a standout. I thought it would be fun to be in there with her.

            The class met each Monday night for several hours. We would discuss things like community involvement, service opportunities and leading by example as young high school students. I mastered the art of doodling on the back of my nameplate. One particular Monday, the topic turned to dreams and people of influence. That one class period on that one ordinary Monday night became a defining moment for me. The teacher went around the classroom and asked students to share about their dreams and the people who had been influential in their lives. I heard plenty of well-reasoned responses, aspirations and a list of mentors that any teacher would love to hear. It was finally my turn and the class swiveled in their chairs to hear what I would say. I knew my answer would probably get some critique from the teacher, but I was full of that youthful pride I mentioned earlier. I told everyone that the people of influence in my life were professional athletes. I then confidently declared that my dream was to play baseball professionally.

            There were a few chuckles from some friends in the back of the room who all knew where this was going. But I stood my ground, knowing somewhere in my heart that it was a dream worth stating, chasing and even defending. The teacher was gracious in his response, but he got right to the point. He explained to me that goals were certainly important, but that we should always consider the odds. He reminded me of the statistics. High school students have a slim chance of playing college sports and beyond that, college athletes had an even more depressingly slim chance of playing professionally. He didn’t need to touch on the rarity of making it out of the Minor League into the Majors—I was well aware of that statistic as well. A hush fell over the room, and I could tell that my classmates were a little uneasy. I even forgot that Ellen was nearby, listening to each word that came out of my mouth. With a hint of sarcasm, I told the teacher that he had crushed my dream. He could tell that his speech about the odds had left me dejected, so he quickly shifted gears and tried to encourage me.  “I do want you to understand the odds, Clayton. They are one in a million. But the important thing is that you see yourself as the one. Don’t think about the million. Visualize yourself being the one who makes it. You are the one. Be the one.”

            I smiled and nodded OK. I could have written it off as a lame attempt to salvage my dream, but something actually clicked inside me at that moment. My teacher’s comments inspired my focus on the dream. He hit the nail on the head. Be the one. I started to visualize myself as the one who would make it. Through a teacher in an elective leadership class, the Lord lit a fire underneath me that propelled me towards becoming more of the man He intended me to be.

In his letter to his apprentice Timothy, the apostle Paul gives a powerful charge, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). What Paul says to Timothy is exactly what I learned that evening in the Leadership 101 class. It doesn’t matter how old you are—anyone can make an impact. Dreams are just dreams until you take a step towards them. Then the dream becomes a goal. Our culture today tells us that all of our goals and motivations should lead towards a better, more comfortable, more successful life for us. We don’t have to listen long to get the message. The world is telling us over and over, “Life is all about you.” And yet I can’t help but stop and ask, “What’s it really all about?” Personal achievements matter, but only to a certain point. I realized in class that day that the odds would not define me. People could question my dream and my drive all day, but in the end, the Lord had a plan for my life. I wanted the Lord to define me. I wanted my life to be all about Him.

As a freshman in high school, I was young and had a lot to learn. I still do. But even as a freshman sitting in a leadership class, I saw the opportunity to set an example. I knew that I loved baseball and that I wanted to play professionally. I also knew that the odds were tough and people would do whatever it took to get there. But the thought of setting an example for others, even as a young person, that was intriguing to me.

            I still look back at that moment. I am grateful that it happened and I am grateful for that teacher who spoke a bit of reality into a stubborn 14-year-old. But more than anything, I am grateful to God for the dream that He rooted deep in my heart. I set out at that young age to set an example for those who were watching. I was hoping that Ellen would watch, too. I was anxious to strive beyond personal achievement and to be about something more than just getting ahead in life. It was a lofty dream of an overly confident kid in a freshman leadership class. But I am so thankful for that moment when I dared to believe that, by God’s grace, I could be one in a million. 

 

Join us! Commit to doing something this season. You can join the challenge one of two ways.  You can either create your own challenge that is meaningful to you and impacts your community, or you can join Clayton and pledge per strikeout to support this year's projects.  When we live for something greater than ourselves, the Lord gets the glory and amazing things can happen. So, do you know what you want to do? If you are going to create your own challenge, we would love from you to tell us about it! Write us or send us a video so we can post YOUR challenge here on our website!  We want to encourage you along the way and use your story to inspire others to come along!

https://www.kershawschallenge.com/the-challenge/

 

Kershaw's Challenge 2017-HERE we go!

It's time!! Spring is here and it's time for Dodger baseball AND a brand new season of Kershaw's Challenge. This week the Dodgers officially began the 2017 season with a big win over the San Diego Padres 14-3, with Clayton pulling out 8 strikeouts! See some of the day's fun below. And what a beautiful day it was for some baseball too!

{Photos by: Jon SooHoo}

{Photos by: Jon SooHoo}

As we usher in a brand new season of baseball, let's welcome our 2017 beneficiaries!  We feel like the Lord has given us a heart to serve in four different locations around the globe: Dallas, Los Angeles, the Dominican Republic and Zambia. Again in 2017, we are excited to partner with organizations in these locations who are actively making life better for kids. We encourage you to get to know our friends (see websites below). In 2017, every dollar raised will go towards these awesome organizations and specific projects:

Arise Africa :: Zambia

- Building the school -

Last year we were able to identify and purchase the land for a brand new community school in the N’gombe compound of Lusaka. Now it’s time to begin the funding to build the school! Architects have rendered some incredible plans and we are so excited to watch them come to life.

For more information and updates about the school and projects, visit ariseafrica.org.

 

 Behind Every Door :: Dallas, Texas

- Building a community center and programming -

It has been such a joy to get to know the people and work of Behind Every Door. They serve in two different areas of South Dallas and this year we are excited to join their work at the Willow Pond apartment complex. Currently, Behind Every Door uses a small apartment to host their gatherings and services at Willow Pond. We’d love to help make their dream for a community center a reality. Our 2017 funds will go towards building a center and equipping it with great after-school programs for the children living in the area.

To see more of what Behind Every Door is doing in the Dallas community, visit behindeverydoor.org.

 

CURE International :: Dominican Republic

- Surgeries and Clubfoot Program -

We believe our highest calling with our friends at CURE is to make life-altering surgeries for children living in the DR. So that’s our focus this year—making it possible for children to receive renewed life through surgeries at CURE. Also this year, we are excited to fund the Clubfoot program at the hospital—a program that treats children born with clubfoot through a series of casting.

To learn more about how CURE is helping children in the Dominican Republic, visit cure.org.

 

Dream Center :: Los Angeles

- Foster Care Intervention and Back to School Bash -

We LOVED being part of the Back to School Bash last year. It is a tangible way that Kershaw’s Challenge can support and equip school-aged kids living in LA. We are excited to sponsor this great event again this year. Additionally, we would love to allocate our funds to the Foster Care Intervention program—giving families everything they need to ensure their children remain in their custody.

Learn more about the vision and work of the Dream Center and how you can also get involved at dreamcenter.org.

 

Join our team!

So what is Kershaw's Challenge all about?

Kershaw’s Challenge would not exist without YOU. From year to year, our focus remains the same: to make life better for vulnerable and at-risk youth around the globe. It is a lofty goal, impossible without the transforming work of the Lord and the benevolence of others. We are so grateful for our growing team of supporters and hope that you will consider joining us again this year. We live in a world that is desperate to know the hope of the gospel and the kindness and provision from others. With that in mind, we are thrilled to launch another season of Kershaw’s Challenge.

 We have some great ways you can get involved in our work and be part of our team. Consider how you can come alongside us in 2017:

Give Per Strikeout

Our Strikeout to Serve campaign is in full swing starting Opening Day. Clayton makes a donation for every strikeout he makes—you can do the same! Visit our website to sign up.

Support or Sponsor

Every dollar counts. Consider giving to Kershaw’s Challenge as a donor or event sponsor! We’d love to tell you about specific opportunities for 2017!

What’s your Challenge?

Create your own challenge—just like Clayton’s personal challenge with strikeouts. And tell us about it on our website!

Grab some gear!

We love seeing our KC gear around town…and around the world! Check out our store for new shirts and hats. Also checked out some official signed memorabilia—all proceeds going to Kershaw’s Challenge.

Attend our events!

We are excited to host our two annual events again this year: PingPong4Purpose in LA on July 27th and Kershaw’s Challenge LIVE in Dallas in November. Attend or sponsor!

 

Thank you for considering joining our team! It’s a joy to partner with you in making life better for children worldwide.

-The Kershaw Family and KC Team