Bishop Gorman High School, located in Las Vegas, NV, has this as a central part of its mission statement: [to] “create a community where service is valued and celebrated.” One of the school’s more famous alumnus, Paul Sewald, is doing just that, here in Seattle, WA, every time he strikes a batter out.
This season, Sewald and his wife, Molly, have teamed up with Eastside Baby Corner for “Sewald’s Strikeout For Kids,” pledging to donate $200 for every strikeout Sewald records this season—and, he says with a wink, that includes the postseason. You can sign up to join Sewald in his campaign here, and learn more about the concrete impact your donations have on Northwest families.
For Sewald, getting involved in giving back has been something he’s been interested in for a long time; he has an aunt who is involved in philanthropy who lives in Redmond, and having family close by was a factor in his decision to sign with the Mariners. But he’s also found the kind of stable base in Seattle that’s allowed him to launch a partnership that has wide-ranging community impact.
Having a child can be an all-encompassing and often overwhelming experience, as Paul and Molly learned this past year when their first child, Chloe, was born. For the Sewalds, though, both graduates of schools that emphasized the importance of serving others, their thoughts immediately turned to other families going through this experience without the kind of financial resources they are privileged to have.
“We figured out, you know, how many diapers a week we go through, how many jackets we need, how many blankets we need, how much clothing she needs,” says Sewald, ticking the expenses off on his fingers. “And it’s like, thank goodness that we don’t have any monetary issues. We can get what we need, we can go to Target. And if it doesn’t fit after the first time she wears it, it’s okay, we can get something new.”
“And then you think about all the people that aren’t nearly as fortunate as we are with that sort of thing.”
Since he made the bigs, Paul and Molly had known they wanted to leverage their good fortune to help others, but they wanted to do so in a real, meaningful way: “not just writing checks.” Now that they had a mission, the next step was to find an organization that was a good match for the kind of direct assistance they wanted to offer. What appealed to the Sewalds about Eastside Baby Corner is their presence in the community and the way they are proactive about seeking out families to connect with assistance.
“It’s so important because it impacts the families without the families having to come to them or having to go through a social worker,” Sewald says, noting that this approach helps remove roadblocks to access like pride or an unwillingness to request assistance, language barriers, or fear or mistrust of institutions, especially from families for whom immigration status is a concern. “One of the most important things was that people don’t have to go personally to them, Baby Corner has representatives at different spaces that can kind of say like, ‘hey, there’s this family that really needs help, but they’re not going to ask for help because they have too much pride. But we need, you know, a size small jacket, a blanket, whatever.’”
This year Baby Corner is seeing an increased demand for aid due in part to the influx of refugees from the war in Ukraine, but Sewald credits the “well-oiled machine” that is Baby Corner in delivering help directly the the families that most need it in an expedient fashion. “Thursday is their delivery day, so Thursday is a madhouse, there’s people driving all over town delivering this and that. And then it’s empty on Friday, and then they get their donations together from Saturday through the week, and by Wednesday the place is stuffed to the brim, and then it all goes out again on Thursday. It’s an amazing process, it’s fun to watch.”
Currently, Eastside Baby Corner is collecting for their Pencils and Pants drive to support students headed back to school. This Tuesday, September 13, they’re doing a donation drive at the Kent Chamber of Commerce (524 W Meeker Street) from 10 AM - 1 PM, collecting school supplies (list here) and new or gently used clothing for school-age children (sizes 5-14) (list here). If you can’t make the drop-off, you can donate clothes and supplies directly to EBC through their online giving catalog, found here. And of course you can support Sewald’s Strikeout 4 Kids here if you’re interested in continuing to support Sewald’s mission to help kids for the rest of the baseball season—and, as Paul notes, into the postseason. Currently, his Strikeouts 4 Kids projects to raise over $30,000 to help Northwest families. It’s a way to give back, Paul says, to the city that has given him so much.
“We’ve been blessed a million times, and we just want to help as much as we can.”