George Springer and SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young hit the ball out of the park at the George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit on July 8 at Bowlmor Houston. Springer, along with fellow teammates, local celebrities, co-chairs Lara Bell and Melissa DeAyala, junior chair Matthew DeAyala, honorary chair Dr. Carolyn Farb and 450 fans raised more than $250,000.
Proceeds from the event will send children from families in need to Camp SAY, a life-changing summer camp for young people who stutter. Springer, a person who stutters, hosted the Bowling Benefit to provide financial aid help and ensure that children from all socio-economic backgrounds have access to Camp SAY.
During a VIP pre-game celebration, Taro Alexander, founder of SAY, led a call-and-response pep rally with Springer and guests forming a huge circle of support around all of the kids who stutter. Alexander continued with the inspiring story of his experience as a person who stutters and how Camp SAY is changing lives. Springer, the national spokesperson for Camp SAY, voiced his support for young people who stutter. He welcomed the kids in attendance and all kids who stutter to become a part of his team.
Noah Cornman, executive director of SAY, welcomed the crowd and cheered them on to provide every young person who stutters access to Camp SAY. The co-chairs and honorary chair kept the hype going as they encouraged the crowd to get excited to bowl and raise funds for Camp SAY. Cornman, along with SAY Director of Programming Travis Robertson, gave a special performance of a Camp SAY "morning song" dedicated to Springer, followed by inspiring speeches from Camp SAY kids Malcolm Venable, and Finn Balan, who presented Springer with the SAY Hero Award. The evening was dedicated to HPD officer Jerry Flores, a longtime friend of the Astros who is recovering from an accident.
DJ Senega provided the tunes for guests to hit the lanes, celebrities and young people who stutter. The silent auction provoked friendly competition, but everyone came together to cheer Springer and the celebrity lane captain roster, which included:
- KHOU Meteorologist Chita Craft
- KHOU's Great Day Houston Host Deborah Duncan
- KPRC Radio Host Michael Garfield
- CultureMap Columnist Ken Hoffman
- Walton & Johnson Radio Show Host Steve Johnson
- NBA Charlotte Hornets Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
- KPRC's Khambrel Marshall
- KTRK's David Nuno
- Former Houston Oilers player Dan Pastorini
- KHMX Radio Host Sarah Pepper
- KPRC's Chester Pitts
- KODA Radio Host Jay Rodriguez
- KHMX Radio Host Geoff Sheen
- KHOU's TV Anchor Ron Trevino
- KPRC's Courtney Zavala
A day camp was held for young people who stutter the day before the event at the Magnolia Houston Hotel. The free camp allowed kids and teens the opportunity to meet new friends who stutter and participate in exciting activities that help build confidence. Afterwards, the campers and their parents joined SAY for the Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox afternoon game, including a meet-and-greet with Springer in the Astros Press Room.
Springer's teammates Chris Devenski, Tony Kemp, Lance McCullers, Brad Peacock, Tony Sipp, Joe Smith, Astros third base coach Gary Pettis, Astros bullpen coach Doug White, Astros Manager AJ Hinch and Astros President Reid Ryan were in attendance.