CALIFORNIA - Grammy winner and The Voice Philippines coach Apl.d.ap traded in his microphone for a baseball to raise awareness on adoption at the LA Dodgers special adoptee night celebration.
It was his first time to watch a Dodgers baseball game but Joe Ben Hudgens didn't think this is the type of welcome he'd get as he took to the field with his adopted son, Allen Pineda, internationally known by his stage name Apl.d.ap of the Black Eyed Peas.
Apl, who has performed at the Super Bowl and at the theme song for the NBA playoffs opening credits, took the baseball diamond for the first time in his career, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Dodger Adoptee night.
"I'm an adoptee so it's great to have this night for all the adoptees out there to be thankful for all the adopted parents and organizations that helped us out. This [is] for the people that supported us; this pitch," he said.
The Angeles City-born Apl was sponsored by Hudgens as a teenager so he can get treatment for his vision problem.
Through a friend of Hudgens, Apl forged a friendship with his future bandmate Will.I.am.
From the beginning, Hudgens, an attorney, knew his adopted son was going to be special.
"As a youngster, he was pretty good with his singing and dancing and those kind of things," he said.
A thousand adopted children filled the stands as Apl talked about his experience on the field.
"To able to see all kids and give them a rally towel and see them all get excited, it just touches our hearts," said Gregg Bowie of Mixed Roots Foundation.
"For him to throw out the first pitch tonight is really saying no matter what your disabilities or if you have challenges or special needs or whatever you struggle with, you can do it," said Holly Bachman from the same foundation.
Apl said, "If you're helped, take that opportunity, cherish it and do well in school and whoever your sponsor is, talk about your life story. Tell them what you need and especially do well in school and if they see you do well they want to help more".
Hudgen's decision to adopt a legally blind Filipino kid not only paid off in fame, and fortune, but also for the community as Apl continues to be visible in LA as well as the Philippines.
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