Just before the New York Mets took the field on August 1, they led the crowd in saluting Mitch Arnold, the first winner of the Gold M Award. Given by the M Foundation, the award honors young athletes who are role models in their communities. New York Mets All-Star David Wright presented Mitch with the award, along with a check for $20,000. M Foundation founder, Josh Shaw, and CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods, Mitchell Modell, were also on hand to congratulate the young athlete.
COURTESY JAKUBEK FAMILY
"The true meaning of an athlete is not only to perform on the field, but to leverage those abilities in the community as well," said Wright. "Mitch embodies everything an athlete should aspire to be."Big Goals
Mitch grew up playing soccer in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. In 2006, when he was 13 years old, he was inspired by the words of a visiting Haitian principal, who talked about the poor children of Haiti. Mitch wanted to help, so he created a foundation called "Peace is the Goal." The foundation's aim is to spread goodwill around the world through soccer. So far, Mitch has shipped soccer equipment to children in 53 countries.
In the fall, Mitch will attend the University of Minnesota. But he will continue to give back. His message to other kids is, "Be thankful for what you have, and don't be afraid to share your gifts with others."
Pass It On
Josh Shaw launched the M Foundation in September 2010. Its goal is to inspire young athletes to lead healthy lifestyles and to be role models in their community. The foundation has so far recognized 40 high school athletes throughout the country with Silver and Bronze M Awards. Mitch is the first to receive the Gold M Award.
"Mitch is a leader, a role model, and a shining example of what it means to be an athlete on a mission," said Cathy Cercena, executive director of the M Foundation.