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Jostens Recognizes UT Tyler Baseball Community Service
Sports Cards for Kids recognized as best on-going coummunity service project in nation
January 10, 2007

Courtesy UT Tyler Sports Information

The University of Texas at Tyler baseball team has been awarded the Jostens/National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) award for the best on-going community service project in the nation for the team's Sports Cards for Kids program.

Sports Cards for Kids was started by Patriots baseball head coach James Vilade and assistants Kyle Welsh and Jack Price. The program began to promote education and caring through the gift of baseball cards. In addition to distributing sports cards and signing autographs, Sports Cards for Kids has also provided free clinics for youth leagues over the past three years.

"Sports Cards for Kids gives us a chance to go into the community and show how much our team cares. We are a team that definitely values the community," said Vilade. "Sports Cards for Kids gives our players a chance to connect to the youth of our community. We want our players to be helpful and accessible to our community."

Since the fall of 2003, the UT Tyler baseball team has conducted over 125 programs with East Texas organizations, including Tyler ISD, Whitehouse ISD, Bullard ISD, the American Heart Walk, Trinity Mother Frances Hospital, the Boys and Girls Club of East Texas, and others.

"Being recognized nationally for your service to a community you care so much about is a great honor. I have to pass along credit to our players, past and present, for answering the call and always being ready to help and serve our great town," said Vilade.

In addition to UT Tyler, University of the Redlands was honored for the best one-time project and the College of St. Scholastica was recognized for its array of community service projects.

Each year, Jostens and the NADIIIAA honor the programs having the top community service initiatives in the nation. UT Tyler was recognized at the NCAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., last weekend. In addition to receiving a commemorative trophy, NADIIIAA and Jostens will make a $1,000 contribution to the general scholarship fund at UT Tyler.


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