by Anelise Cimino, Published July 19, 2012
Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Charlie Batch has been United Way's TEAM NFL representative for the Steelers since 2006. Recently, Batch has partnered with United Way in a campaign to cut high school dropout rates in half by 2018. Volunteers, Steeler fans, Pittsburgh natives, educators and Eastern Michigan University students and alumni are invited to pledge their hand to help kids graduate.
Batch is already helping kids win in the Pittsburgh community with his Best of the Batch Foundation, but he needs 3,000 dedicated hands from across the United States to help achieve United Way TEAM NFL's goal to raise one million volunteers, tutors and mentors. TEAM NFL is a volunteer group of college-educated, civic-minded NFL players from teams across the league. As a representative of TEAM NFL, Batch will participate in local United Way efforts, make featured appearances, star in TEAM NFL promotional material and raise 3,000 volunteers.
Batch attended United Way's Youth Empowerment Summit with TEAM NFL in June to meet with other TEAM NFL players, high-achieving students from his team's market, legislators and United Way representatives to learn, inspire and create ideas. This kickoff of the United Way TEAM NFL season inspired students, educators, mentors and volunteers to be education leaders and advocates in their communities.
Batch learned at a young age that education is an important component to becoming and maintaining leadership roles. He understood that he needed to balance education and football to succeed. Batch went on to be a star on his high school team, wining a state championship, and earned a scholarship to EMU. While at EMU, Batch struggled with injuries, but he persevered and broke almost every quarterback record in his journey to become one of EMU's most prolific quarterbacks.
Even with all of his on field achievements, Batch's college career wasn't an easy path. Batch was shell-shocked in 1996 with the news that his younger sister, Danyl, had been murdered. Initially, Batch wanted to quit college and return home to be with his family, but with support from his mother and EMU Head Football Coach Dan Henson, Batch made the difficult choice to remain at EMU and finish his education.
Batch's perseverance and motivation to succeed won the hearts and respect of many teammates, students and fans. He graduated from EMU in 1997 with a degree in Criminal Justice and football stats that propelled him into the bright lights of the NFL.
In 2000 when Batch returned to Pittsburgh to don a Steelers uniform, he founded The Best of the Batch Foundation. He wanted to commemorate Danyl and to promote education and sports in Homestead. The Best of the Batch Foundation's goal is to provide financially challenged youth and their families with the purpose, desire, and resources to give their best efforts in all they do. Batch is very hands-on with his foundation and is constantly volunteering, visiting schools or shooting hoops with the kids.
Batch always tells students that, "Proper preparation prevents poor performance." He lives by these words and his experiences in Homestead, at EMU and with the Steelers have prepared him to be a role model in the community, with the Steelers and in the classroom. Preparing kids to succeed is one of Batch's passions in life. United Way's TEAM NFL gives Batch a unique opportunity to show his commitment to education. Batch said, "If I can give kids hope and light and help them realize their dream, that's what I want to do."
Pledging a hand for TEAM Batch is easy. Take an hour of your day to read to a classroom, tutor a struggling student or volunteer at an after-school program. Pick your passion and share it. Already doing this?
Show your support and officially join Batch's TEAM at www.unitedway.org/team-nfl/players/charlie-batch!
You can learn how Batch lives united and find opportunities in your area at www.unitedway.org/team-nfl.