Meet 12-year old Sam Maden, an all-star pitcher and catcher for his team the Nashua North Angels, and a LGBT advocate who started a petition to get the Boston Red Sox to make a "It Gets Better" video.
The Red Sox, thanks primarily to Sam's work, are going to do the video.
He posted his petition on change.org:
"My name is Sam, I am 12 years old and my two friends and I really like the Boston Red Sox. We have looked up ways to change our community, and our country. On YouTube and Facebook you can see examples of 'It Gets Better' videos. There are hundreds. So please, can you make a video to help young gay and lesbian teens? You can help us save lives one teen at a time.''
The petition was featured on change.org and within weeks it had over 9,200 signatures.
On Thursday, [change.org communication director Brain] Purchia said, he reached out to Susan Goodenow, the Red Sox senior vice president of public affairs and marketing. A day later, the Sox had pledged to make a public service announcement for "It Gets Better.''
"The Red Sox organization takes the issue of bullying seriously," the team said in a statement. "It is something that has touched many of us and those we love, and it is a growing problem in our community. We are proud of dedicated Red Sox fans like 12-year-old Sam Maden who have taken the courageous step of publicly standing up against bullying of LGBT youth."
Sam's Uncle was gay, and Sam was close to him. Sam's Uncle Chris Nutile was very active in the Trevor Project in Florida and Sam had helped raise money for the cause. Uncle Chris was tragically killed in mudslides in Brazil last winter. But Sam, after hearing the SF Giants were making a "It Gets Better Video" (since released see Giants add their voises to "It Gets Better") he decided that his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox should do the same. Hence the petition.
Brian Purchia is the communications director for Change.org. He happens to be from Winchester, Mass., and is a Sox fan. His reaction when he discovered that a 12-year-old was behind the "It Gets Better" petition to the Sox?
"Just shocked, honestly,'' he said. "It's a very brave act by a middle school kid, in the face of the kind of pressure that can come from society and in school when you do something like this.''
Indeed, it is very brave and very inspiring for someone so young to be so wise and so active.
And who does Sam hope will be involved in the Sox "It Gets Better" video?
"I would like to see Dustin Pedroia in it because he is my favorite player and Jason Varitek because he is the captain of the team and seen as the leader of the Red Sox,'' he said.