In an attempt to cut high school dropout rates in half before 2018, former Eastern Michigan University quarterback Charlie Batch, who now plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, teamed up with the United Way’s Team NFL.
Batch has been the Team NFL representative for the Steelers since 2006 and is committed to educational opportunities. He has been recruiting readers, mentors and tutors for the Be 1 in a Million program.
The focus for the next two months is the Captain Contest, where volunteers can form their own rosters of 10 or more teammates in hopes to win items signed by Batch. The contest began Oct. 22 and runs until Dec. 14.
The goal of the contest is to get people to work together and reward them for their recruiting abilities.
“It is very easy to sign up to become a team Batch member, or a member of another team if you choose,” Anelise Cimino, an intern for the United Way’s Team NFL said. “The simplicity aspect is important to college students, and I think that should help in recruiting members.”
Batch can typically be found speaking at schools about the importance of education, and spends a lot of his personal time visiting with students.
He also created the Best of the Batch Foundation, which is based in his hometown Homestead, Pa.
“Sports had a profound effect on my youth and life,” Batch said.
His mission is about helping other students succeed in the same way he did.
The foundation has provided scholarships to students and developed after-school programs and sports activities. Their goal is to provide financially challenged youths with a purpose and drive to give their best efforts throughout their lives.
The largest program of the Best of the Batch Foundation is called Continuously Helping Uplift Community Kids. The program has participants play 20 basketball games throughout a six-week period in May. It not only keeps the children busy, but also teaches them teamwork, self-confidence, the fundamental skills of basketball and discipline, while having a fun time.
Batch said his experiences in his hometown, at EMU and with the Steelers have paved his way to becoming a role model nationwide. Preparing kids to succeed in life is one of his biggest passions in his life and he often says “proper prevention prevents poor performance.”
“If I can give kids hope and light and help them realize their dream, that’s what I want to do,” Batch said.