David Dellucci, Chad Gaudin, LaTroy Hawkins and Jacque Jones on Tuesday presented a check for $80,000 from the Players Trust to Volunteers of America to support a program for at-risk kids from New Orleans' hurricane-devastated Ninth Ward.

The funds will support VOA's Lighthouse Program at Milestone/Sabis Charter School, which serves kids from kindergarten through the eighth grade.

"In just over a year, Volunteers of America has done a magnificent job in addressing the needs of the neediest New Orleans residents affected by the devastating hurricanes," said Hawkins, a relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies.

"However, there is still a lot of work to be done, and all Major League baseball players are grateful for this opportunity to help some of New Orleans' most important residents -- its kids. For years, Volunteers of America's Lighthouse Program has helped encourage the area's youth to excel in school and in life, and the Players Trust is happy to help contribute to the revival of this great program."

Hawkins, Dellucci (Cleveland Indians), Gaudin (Oakland Athletics) and Jones (Chicago Cubs) have all taken special interest in working with VOA to assist Gulf Coast families whose lives were uprooted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"We are honored and sincerely thankful for the interest the Major League Baseball players have shown for our Lighthouse Program," said Jim LeBlanc, president and chief executive officer of Volunteers of America of Greater New Orleans. "What a perfect fit and a win-win for both sides. They like we do at Volunteers of America, see the need for this program in our city now more than ever."

The players also talked to the children about perseverance and teamwork during the Lighthouse after-school program today.

Managed by VOA's Greater New Orleans affiliate, the Lighthouse Program reinforces the basic academic skills and life lessons children in grades K-8 will need to succeed through its after-school programs, including its summer baseball program. Last year, the Lighthouse Program served more than 250 children and their families through after-school and summer programs.