LA Dodgers fans Noah Georgeadis and his mom Amy of Santa Maria, CA, will be attending the third game of the World Series this year as winners of a Facebook fan voting contest sponsored by the Rotary Club of Denver’s Branch Rickey Award.

Noah hopes his hero Clayton Kershaw will be pitching there.  Kershaw is this year’s Branch Rickey Award winner.

According to his mom, eight year old Noah started playing baseball last year and fell in love with the game.  He went to his first major league baseball game at Dodger Stadium this past June.  Since then, he has really gotten into learning about the Dodgers, making his mom look up all the stats on the players and watching their videos on YouTube.

That’s where Noah found out about Kershaw’s Challenge, a foundation Kershaw and his wife Ellen founded that seeks to transform the lives of at-risk children and communities.  Their cornerstone charity, “Arise Africa,” has built and sustained an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia called “Arise Home.”  The orphanage is now home to nine children who came from desperate situations.

Amy recalls that when she and Noah were researching the Dodgers and found out about Kershaw’s Challenge, she told her husband, her dad, and her sisters, because “you just don’t see people with Clayton’s celebrity status using it for good the way that he does. I am just blown away by his generosity and the fact that he really genuinely cares about people and helping them. I was in tears when I went to his website and saw the video about the Arise Home – it was so incredibly touching how these children’s lives were changed by his generosity and caring. Even though I am a Dodger’s fan, I would have to say that I am more of a Clayton Kershaw fan first,” Amy says.

Noah even got his mom to buy him a Kershaw’s Challenge t-shirt, which he wears practically every other day.  Now, Amy and Noah watch all the Dodger games together, along with the rest of the family.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we are about winning!” Amy exclaimed.  “We’re even using my Christmas countdown calendar as a World Series countdown calendar.

Created by the Rotary Club of Denver in 1991, the Branch Rickey Award honors individuals in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people.  Each year, the Major League Baseball teams are asked to nominate one player from their team for this nationally acclaimed award.  All of the nominees personify Rotary International’s motto, “Service Above Self.”

At 25, Kershaw is the youngest person to receive the award.  He was chosen by a National Selection Committee comprised of 450 members of the sports media, baseball executives, past award winners and Rotary district governors.  All of the voting this year was conducted online.  Fans were given a chance to vote through FaceBook for the first time.  Kershaw won the fan voting by an impressive margin.

A three-time National League All-Star, Kershaw won the 2011 Cy Young Award.  He was also honored with the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award for his sportsmanship and off-field endeavors.

This year, Kershaw’s goal is to rebuild a community school in the heart of Lusaka, adding five additional classrooms, a water well and salaries to pay higher educated faculty.  Each year, the Kershaws travel to Africa to visit with the children and bring awareness to the issues of diseases and infections related to HIV and AIDS.  In 2012, Clayton and Ellen co-authored Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself, a book that chronicles their life together and trips to Africa.

Kershaw’s Challenge is also involved with Sharefest in Los Angeles and Mercy Street in his hometown of Dallas, TX, both of which seek to improve the lives of at-risk youth through after-school programs and sports.

Since 2011, Kershaw has been “Striking Out to Serve,” donating $500 to Kershaw’s Challenge for each batter he strikes out.  So far this season, he is leading the National League with 201 strikeouts.  He also leads the Major Leagues in ERA at 1.89.