Grid Kids are off to the races
American Le Mans Series teams with Salvation Army in national youth program.
To help support the development of today’s youth, the American Le Mans Series has teamed up with The Salvation Army, the official charity of the series, to form a national Grid Kids program. The organizations are working together to design an exciting and enriching national youth program.
Announced last October in San Francisco’s Crissy Field Park, the national Grid Kids concept grew out of an idea from Salvation Army employee Kimberly Hines, who works for the Golden State Division as financial development direcor. The American Le Mans Series participants will interact with youth at Salvation Army centers, with race teams and drivers visiting the centers early in the race week.
This provides a “one-in-a-lifetime event for some,” said Major Joe Posillico, Golden State divisional commander. Grid Kids—those children who take part in activities at Salvation Army centers—will receive VIP treatment at American Le Mans Series events.
In each of the 10 markets in which they race, the American Le Mans Series will host at the track 12-15 disadvantaged youth from Salvation Army centers. They will experience personal sessions with race teams and drivers, have photos taken and get autographs, enjoy lunch and a unique day-in-the-life experience with the drivers. They will also be able to take an up-close look at some of the series racecars.
“We are extremely pleased to take our involvement with The Salvation Army to the next level,” said American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. “It is an entity that is renowned around the world as one of the pre-eminent organizations that is constantly reaching out to help and support others. We at the American Le Mans Series recognize our role in doing the same, and through the Grid Kids program, hope to make a difference in young people’s lives.”
Among the series drivers who participated in The Salvation Army Grid Kids program in 2005 was Petersen/White Lightning driver Patrick Long. “It’s obviously a great opportunity for the teams to interact with the youth and what is undeniably our future,” said Long. “It wasn’t long ago that I was the same age as these kids and so excited about meeting racecar drivers.”
The American Le Mans Series has become the fastest growing race series in America, perhaps the world, in terms of fans, television viewing and corporate involvement. The series creates unique merchandise, which includes Grid Kids t-shirts and also stickers that teams place on their cars at selected races.
From The Salvation Army’s national website, www.salvationarmy.org