IMG Academy alumnus Alfredo Escalera, a member of the class of 2012, made history shortly after graduation when he became the youngest player ever drafted since the inception of the First-Year Players Draft in 1965. However, Escalera is making an even bigger impact off the field with his humanitarian efforts. During National Volunteers Week in April, it was announced that Escalera was the recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the nation’s most distinguished service award.
"I have the selfish belief that by helping someone in peril to better his life, I am actually helping myself to be more joyful. For me, voluntary work is a shortcut to being blessed with amazing happiness," said Escalera in a United States Fund for UNICEF news release.
For the faculty and staff at IMG Academy, the honor came as no surprise.
“We’re extremely proud, but certainly not surprised,” said Ken Bolek, Director of Baseball, IMG Academy. “We would like to congratulate not only Alfredo, but also his family for doing such a good job to instill strong values in him.”
While a student-athlete at IMG Academy, Escalera was tireless in his community service efforts. He regularly took part in helping with the Miracle League of Manasota; served as a tutor for his peers within IMG Academy; assisted as a coach for the athletes of Special Olympics – Manatee County; and even traveled home to Puerto Rico regularly to help with providing meals to the homeless and pitching in with beach cleanup efforts.
Nowadays as a member of the Kansas City Royals organization, Escalera has only increased the scale of his community service. Last December, Escalera headed an activity to raise funds for UNICEF's United States Fund to promote world access to clean water. His efforts resulted in handing a $25,000 check to Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock, in the presence of Secretary of State-designate David Bernier and Puerto Rico Secretary-designate of Sports and Recreation Ramón Orta.
Escalera was a student-athlete at IMG Academy from 2008-‘12. He initially signed with Stetson University before opting to play professionally when he was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the eighth round (253rd overall) of the 2012 MLB Draft.