Oriole Bird to lead Walk for the Kids

The Oriole Bird will lead the annual Walk for the Kids in support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County on Sept. 15 at Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles' spring training home. In addition to sponsoring individual walkers or creating their own teams, members of the public may "pledge the Bird" to support the four clubs, which are located in Newtown, central Sarasota, Venice and North Port.

For the Walk, hundreds of adults and children will gather at Ed Smith Stadium on 12th Street to raise awareness about the Boys & Girls Clubs' vision: children and youth achieving academic success, living healthy lifestyles and becoming good stewards of our community.

"We are thrilled that the Orioles are a lead partner in the Walk, which is the major annual fundraiser for our clubs where we strive to provide a world-class experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who walks through our doors," said Bill Sadlo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. "Our goal is to have all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle. Our clubs provide after-school and summer programs for more than 5,500 children and youth ages 6 to 18 throughout Sarasota County."

"The Boys & Girls Clubs and Major League Baseball share a special, national partnership. It was a natural fit for the Orioles to donate our celebrity mascot, the Oriole Bird, to promote the major annual fundraiser for our local clubs in Sarasota County," said Laura Williams, the Orioles' Director of Florida Operations. "The Orioles strongly encourage Sarasota County residents to 'pledge the Bird' and support the Boys & Girls Clubs, an organization that is helping to shape the future of our community by influencing youth in a positive way."

In addition to leading the Walk, the Bird will appear in TV spots, visit the clubs for special campaign events, and fly into local businesses that are major sponsors of the Walk.

"We will also host the Walk for the Kids event at Ed Smith Stadium. This is all part of our Sarasota 365 outreach program demonstrating the Orioles' year-round engagement with the community," Williams said.

The Walk is $25 for adults and free for children under 18. Participants will complete a one-mile circuit around the outside of the stadium, and then enter the stadium for lots of fun, free activities. For more information and to "pledge the Bird," visit www.walkforthekids.com.