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The Globe and Mail

World Series hero Joe Carter goes to bat for kids in need

Former Toronto Blue Jay Joe Carter speaks Sept. 15 at the Children's Aid Foundation's annual Recognition Night, where he received the Guardian Award for contributions to the organization.

Matthew Sherwood for The Globe and Mail/matthew sherwood The Globe and Mail

The Donor: Joe Carter

The Gift: $225,000 and climbing

The Cause: The Children's Aid Foundation

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The Reason: To provide scholarships and support for at-risk youth.

When Joe Carter was growing up in Oklahoma City in the 1960s, he never had much trouble organizing a baseball game. After all, he had four brothers and six sisters.

"For us it was a lot of fun," Mr. Carter said in an interview. "We always had people around. We never had to worry about locking our doors because someone was always there. There was always something going on in the household."

Mr. Carter became a standout baseball player and eventually joined the Toronto Blue Jays in 1991. He earned hero status on Oct. 23, 1993, by hitting a home run in the ninth inning of Game 6 to win the World Series. Mr. Carter, who now lives near Kansas City, played five more years with two other teams, but his relationship with Toronto remained.

"This is like a second home to me," he said. "The fans love me here. I love the people here."

A couple of years ago, he began working with the Children's Aid Foundation, a Canadian charity that helps vulnerable young people. He'd worked with children's charities in other cities and was impressed with the Canadian organization.

"My wife tells me today that I'm still a big kid and basically I am, because the kids are the future of the world," he said. "If we need to really make a difference in this world then we've got to get the kids early and give them all the opportunity we can. And the Children's Aid Foundation definitely fit all of those requirements."

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Mr. Carter now hosts an annual fundraising golf tournament in Toronto. The event raised $225,000 this year and he hopes to raise up to $500,000 in future years.

The foundation honoured him Thursday with an award during a dinner celebrating 120 students who received scholarships. While he was thrilled to get the award, Mr. Carter said meeting the students was the real highlight.

"What I do is really, to me, not a big deal because I'm more than happy to do what we are doing, raising some money for a very worthwhile project."

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