Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe and linebacker James Laurinaitis have been nominated for the national Jefferson Awards for Public Service. The awards for outstanding service by an athlete are presented by All Stars Helping Kids, a national nonprofit organization started by NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. The awards are divided into two categories: Outstanding Athlete in Service and Outstanding Athlete as a Newcomer in Service.
Fans are encouraged to help Atogwe and Laurinaitis win these prestigious awards by voting for them over the next three months by visiting the All Stars Helping Kids website and via text message. To vote for Atogwe, text “01” to 99158. To vote for Laurinaitis text “24” to 99158. Voting is open now and will officially close Friday, Dec. 31.
Both Atogwe and Laurinaitis have been some of the most consistent contributors to the Rams’ community outreach efforts. In addition to supporting numerous team initiatives, Atogwe has served as a mentor for St. Louis Public Schools and he regularly hosts free youth football clinics for kids to develop both their football and teamwork skills. He also organizes the annual Academic Challenge Program through his I Am Foundation in which local high school football programs compete to earn the highest team GPA during the fall semester. The 2009 winners were awarded $20,000 to be used for the purchase of football field equipment, uniforms, helmets, field refurbishment projects, etc.
During his rookie season last year, Laurinaitis emerged as a community star helping to raise money for causes ranging from The Salvation Army to the St. Louis Area Foodbank. He was also active with PLAY 60, teaching students the importance of being active. This season, he hosted the 15th annual Make-A-Wish Celebrity Server Dinner, and with his leadership, the event brought in a record-breaking $205,000 for Make-A-Wish, which will help fund more than 40 wishes for area children who are battling life threatening medical conditions.
This year, 36 athletes who have a track record of community service have been nominated for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service. Atogwe and Laurinaitis join the likes of fellow nominees, Super Bowl champion Drew Brees, NBA star Paul Pierce and New York Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia, to name a few. The top 10 vote getters will be named to the 2011 Dream Team for Public Service, and two winners will be chosen and recognized at the National Awards Banquet in Washington, DC.
This year, fans can help Atogwe and Laurinaitis win by:
– Voting online at http://www.allstarshelpingkids.org/teammates/index.html
– Voting via text message: to vote for Atogwe text “01” to 99158. To vote for Laurinaitis text “24” to 99158.
– Encouraging friends and family to vote
– There is no limit to the number of times fans can vote
NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott started All Stars Helping Kids in 1989 with the goal of promoting a safe, healthy, rigorous learning environment for disadvantaged children in low-income communities.