L.A. Angels' Albert Pujols looks to Israel for charity partnership
The star baseball player is 'impressed' after a tour of the world's largest special needs center for children.
Major League Baseball star Albert Pujols is making the most of his offseason.
The Los Angeles Angels’ first baseman was in Jerusalem this week, along with his wife Deidre, to visit the Shalva National Children’s Center – a new state-of-the-art $55-million facility that is the largest of its kind in the world.
The center focuses on the special needs community and will service thousands of individuals and their families.
The issue is close to the Pujols’ heart. Their eldest child, Isabella, has Down syndrome. In 2005 the couple established The Pujols Family Foundation, which works with special needs children in cities across the US.
“I feel blessed that through my own life experience with my daughter, she has taught me to give back to people with disabilities so that they can develop their full potential in life and give back to society,” Pujols said following his visit, which included a VIP tour and a meet-and-greet with residents.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit Shalva and to see what is done in Israel to assist youngsters with disabilities and was impressed with their unique facilities, which don’t exist anywhere else," Pujols added.
Avi Samuels, the director of Shalva, said that Pujols' visit marked the beginning of what he hoped would be a fruitful relationship.
“Albert maintained that this was not a one-time visit to Shalva, but rather the beginning of a long-term friendship, where we will work together to do great things for special needs people of all ages in the near future," Samuels said. "Shalva is excited about forging this important relationship with Albert, Deidre and their worthy foundation.”
Pujols began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and had one of the most productive 10-year stretches in the history of the game before leaving the team via free agency in 2011.
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