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Student Organizes Baseball Equipment Drive for Detroit PAL

April 9, 2014

Most 16-year-old boys aren’t too worried about giving back to the community. They have other things on their minds – cars, sports, and hanging around with friends, just to name a few. But that isn’t the case for one Grosse Pointe North High School junior. Tommy Burke, a passionate baseball fan and player, is that boy. Recently, Burke organized a donation drive for baseball equipment that he passed along to Detroit PAL.

“I’ve had a passion for baseball my whole life and have received a lot of enjoyment and opportunities through the sport,” said Burke, a pitcher, first and third baseman. “I wanted to give it to other people who maybe not have those opportunities.”

Burke said that he had this idea for awhile, and he used a thorough marketing campaign to rally community members around the idea. He started attracting attention to the drive by sending emails to local schools and by going door-to-door passing out letters to homeowners. The system worked. For two weekends, for four hours each day, Burke collected almost 200 baseballs, 60 bats, 30 mitts, 30 helmets, 20 bags and seven sets of catcher’s equipment on behalf of Detroit PAL. That equipment will certainly go to great use in Detroit PAL’s Diamond Sports programs, which serve over 1,600 kids who participate in baseball, softball, T-ball and coach pitch.

Burke isn’t a stranger to giving to others and the community. His parents taught him to give back to those less fortunate than he is, he said. So it’s not a surprise to hear that Burke is president of a community service program at school, which he said donated blankets and over 1,000 lunches to veterans in Detroit.

“It’s very rewarding that he, at 16, is able to think so much about everybody else as opposed to himself,” said Tommy’s mother, Renee Burke.

It’s remarkable to see someone Burke’s age care about and give so much to the community. For any young person who has similar ideas or needs inspiration to do what Burke has done, he has a message for you: “There’s nothing else in the world that will satisfy you more than donating to others less fortunate,” he said. “It’s definitely worthwhile to donate what you have to others.”

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