By Sharla Hooper
More than 80 Phoenix-based employees volunteered at the event benefitting community children
University of Phoenix is proud to support the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Winter Classic event each year with employee volunteers and as the presenting partner. The 25th annual D-backs Winter Classic, presented by University of Phoenix, took place December 5th. More than 80 University of Phoenix, Phoenix-based employee volunteers joined D-backs players, coaches and staff for the celebration. University employees participating as volunteers handed out backpacks filled with gifts for the children including new shoes, a cap, a sweatshirt, and books. More than 700 children attended the event.
“The Winter Classic is one of my favorite events of the year,” shared John Woods, Ph.D., chief academic officer and provost of University of Phoenix. “It’s a great example of the good organizations can do when they partner well. For many years we’ve worked with the D-backs to provide a special day for hundreds of kids from across the valley who have the opportunity to come here, be on the field, enjoy a day of games, and leave with some special gifts. Our staff look forward to volunteering at this event all year.”
The annual event provides Arizona schoolchildren from low-income, at-risk schools with a day of celebration, fun, and giving, with gifts provided by the University and Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. The event began more than two decades ago when Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson sought a way to give back to the community by providing children in need with new shoes. Since that time, the event has grown, and now features music, crafts, and a friendly game of baseball. This year’s activities included a baseball station featuring Baxter the D-backs mascot, photos with Santa, a shoe station, a University of Phoenix Reading Corner and The Be Kind Crew Station.
“I am grateful for the partnership with the University of Phoenix and their leadership team in making the Winter Classic one of the most impactful events we do throughout the year,” said Derrick Hall, President & CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks. “It’s hard to believe this event has been making a difference in the lives of children for a quarter of a century now, and I look forward to seeing how many more lives we can touch over the next 25 years.”
University of Phoenix Sr. Quality Assurance Analyst Doni Mullins says volunteering at the event was a wonderful experience. "I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to volunteer at the Diamondbacks Winter Classic event. I met some amazing employees from the University volunteering alongside me. There were so many kids able to take part in the event, and they all came through with smiles on their faces! Many of them were excited to show or tell me about their new shoes, backpacks, hats, hoodies, and books they received. This was my first time volunteering at the event, and I hope to participate again next year."
The University of Phoenix has been a proud sponsor of the Winter Classic since 2012.
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