Year seven of Stand Together Week is in full swing. It’s a week full of community service projects led by Portland Timbers and Thorns players.

On Monday, several Thorns and Timbers players spent the afternoon at the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Cornelius. It’s a place where needy families can get quality health care.

Monday’s mission was simply to spend some quality time with neighborhood kids.

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For 22-year-old defender Elizabeth Ball, who is new to the Thorns, it’s a luxury when your team stands behind your efforts.

“It’s hard enough to get involved in little things on your own, so the fact that they can give us an opportunity to have so many little things that we can do throughout the year is awesome,” said Ball.

After tie-dying some socks, the kids and pro soccer players moved outside.

Timbers midfielder and star player Diego Valeri isn’t new to Stand Together Week. For years, he’s been volunteering.

“We love this week,” he said. “We love this week and are happy that every year more and more people get involved.”

On Monday, he brought his daughter along, who even at her young age, knows how important this work is.

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“She already knows about it because it’s our sixth year here and she waits for this kind of thing,” Valeri said. “She knows it’s the way to be and the way this club wants to be connected to the community and we love it.”

During Monday’s event, there was plenty of smiles and laughter as kids got to take part in sack races and hula hooping.

“There’s so many in the community that don’t have the resources to go to a game or meet the players in person or even on TV, so to have a role model come here to Cornelius is huge,” said Martha Munoz with the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center.

At the end of the day, the Timbers and Thorns did what they set out to do – bring happiness to some of their biggest, littlest fans.

There were six events Monday and there will be another six on Tuesday as Stand Together Week continues all over the Portland metro area.

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