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  • Writer's pictureDouglas Nelson


Rotary Day at the Ballpark is an Annual Fundraiser Supporting Rotary Club Literacy Programs in Champaign County, Central and Southern Illinois, and Metropolitan St. Louis

The Rotary Club of Champaign and First String, Inc., today announced the donation of 29 tickets to a Major League Baseball game for First String little league players, coaches, and chaperones to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play the Chicago Cubs on July 13, 2024, at Busch Stadium, in St. Louis. Game tickets were purchased by members of the Rotary Club of Champaign and donated to First String in honor of Rotary Day at the Ballpark at Busch Stadium.

"Rotary Day at the Ballpark is a fun, exciting, and time-honored tradition that supports Rotary literacy programs in Champaign County and throughout central Illinois," said Janet Ellis-Nelson, Rotary 6490 past-district Governor and member of the Rotary Club of Champaign. "Rotarians across central Illinois have purchased St. Louis Cardinals game tickets to support Rotary literacy programs for more than 20 years. This year, members of the Champaign Rotary Club generously purchased additional tickets and donated them to First String to enable local little league players to enjoy the game as well," added Ellis-Nelson.

"Anyone who has ever watched a live sporting event, cheering shoulder to shoulder with countless fans, knows how exciting it can be," said Peter McFarland, First String League President. "For our little league players to experience the fun and excitement of a Major League Baseball game, at Busch Stadium with their teammates, re-enforces what our coaches and volunteers are teaching them whenever they take the field—respect for yourself and others, honesty, integrity, teamwork, sportsmanship, and playing by the rules are not only fundamental to baseball, they are fundamental to being a good friend and neighbor," added McFarland.

Rotary Day at the Ballpark, initially Rotary Family Day at the Ballpark, began in 2004, in partnership with the St. Louis Cardinals, as a fundraising event to support literacy programs across Rotary districts 6460, 6490, and 6510 (three Rotary districts surrounding St. Louis, Missouri). Since its inception, Rotarians have raised more than $560,000 for literacy projects across central and southern Illinois and the St. Louis metropolitan area.

About First String, Inc. An organization comprised of individuals committed to building local communities by guiding youth in becoming productive citizens. First String, Inc.'s practices have a direct impact on the communities of northwest Urbana and northeast Champaign as we use baseball and other sports to teach integrity, good sportsmanship, honesty, fair play, loyalty, and respect for oneself and others. With a holistic approach that reinforces these characteristics, First String, Inc. aims to help youth become well-rounded, trustworthy, and compassionate individuals and ready to make a marked but positive difference in the world. For more information about First String, please visit, First String, Inc.

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