Interview: Albert Pujols on Helping Kids with Down Syndrome, 2014 MLB Season
He is one of the greatest players of his generation and wherever he goes he's sure to draw a crowd. Now, Albert Pujols is giving children a chance at some amazing opportunities by drawing a picture. It's called the "E-Nee Me-Nee My-Nee Mo" Contest, and it is run by the slugger's Pujols Family Foundation.
Children 14-years old and younger are asked to create a picture of what the four characters E-Nee, Me-Nee, My-Nee, and Mo look like to them. The winner will earn a trip to Nashville, Tennessee and a $1,000 college scholarship. Plus, the winning child's art work will be featured on the cover of a new single "E-Nee Me-Nee My-Nee Mo" released by singer/songwriter Scott Getlin. The winner will also appear in a music video.
Pujols is no stranger to helping children. His foundation assists families and kids who live with Down syndrome, children with disabilities and/or life threatening illnesses, and impoverished children in the Dominican Republic. For the Los Angeles Angels All-Star, it is his duty.
"I believe it is my responsibility to do what I can for children and people with Down syndrome as well as in my native Dominican Republic", Pujols told Breitbart Sports. "God has given me this platform to help others and serve the Kingdom. This is my passion."
Pujols is tireless when it comes to giving back. He works just as hard off the field as he does on it. The results have been incredible. Just last month in Missouri, adults with Down syndrome attended the 6th annual autumn prom, sponsored by the Pujols Family Foundation. Because of his popularity Pujols is able to make a difference in the St. Louis area, California, Tennessee, the Dominican Republic, and really, across the globe.
The Pujols Family Foundation gets it right because they are creative with their events and activities. Just like the Down syndrome prom, this drawing contest is unique. That attracts attention.
"This was an idea that our team in Tennessee came up with," Pujols said. "I know how much my kids like to draw and color, they also have very active imaginations. I am looking forward to see what the kids come up with. I'm sure they will all be great."
Children everywhere look up to Albert Pujols. Kids try to hit like their baseball hero. They watch his every move. This is not lost on the two-time World Series champion. "My wife and I love children," said Pujols. "We have five of our own. I would ask that anyone who looks up to me, would instead look up to God. I am nothing without Him. Everything I do in life and in baseball is to glorify Him."
Back in 2010, Pujols spoke at the Restore Honor rally in Washington, DC. He shared a stage with his then manager Tony LaRussa, conservative talk host Glenn Beck, and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. "That was a great honor for me and my foundation to be recognized that day," Pujols told Breitbart Sports. The foundation deserved the accolades then and it's only getting stronger.
While Pujols is enjoying working with his amazing foundation, he's also working hard at his day job. That gig of course includes a physical toll. Pujols missed the last two months of the 2013 season with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot. The injury did not require surgery, however, so Pujols doesn't expect any big problems as he heads into his third season of a 10-year, monster deal. "I'm feeling good," Pujols said. "I'm looking forward to getting started this year." The fact that Pujols is taking live batting practice is proof positive of that.
After a disappointing third place finish last season, Pujols believes there's reason for optimism in Anaheim. "I think we have a really good team if we can all stay healthy," Pujols said. "I like our chances."
He should. The Angels recently acquired David Freese, Pujols' former Cardinals teammate to play third base. Along with superstar Mike Trout, the team has the bats. Pitching remains the question mark for the Halos, but the move for Freese shows they're serious about recapturing the American League West crown.
As far as the big drawing contest which will award a winner and two runners-up (both of whom will receive a $500 college scholarship), Pujols recommends contestants swing for the fences. "I'd just say have fun with it," he said. "Let your imagination guide you."
Pujols will announce the winner in Nashville on January 28, 2014 at 'Onstage in the Off-Season: An Evening with Albert Pujols and Friends.' The winner will get to meet Pujols.
While Pujols continues his way back from his foot injury, he also continues to make a difference in the lives of children. He doesn't have to look far for inspiration. His beautiful daughter Isabella, who has Down syndrome, reminds the three-time MVP every day what life is really all about. Pujols has lived all aspects of his at a Hall of Fame level.