Braves 400 Club Facilitate Special Visits for Deserving Braves Fans

The Braves 400 Fan Club is a non-profit organization of Braves fans dedicated to supporting the game of baseball at all levels for the past 40 years. These special members of our Braves family volunteer at numerous community events throughout the year and love giving back to Braves Country.

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Some of the incredible members of the Braves 400 Club

Every year, the Braves 400 Club purchases tickets for well-deserving, disadvantaged youth baseball fans in the Metro Atlanta area to attend Braves games throughout the season. Each month, the members invite an organization to come experience batting practice before the game, meet and greet the Braves players and enjoy dinner complimentary of Chick-fil-A.

To kick off baseball season, we invited Calvary Children’s Home to join us at Turner Field for this unique experience. Calvary Children’s Home, located in Powder Springs, GA, provides a safe, loving Christian environment for children needing placement apart from their families. They were treated to a visit by pitcher Aaron Harang during batting practice, who posed for pictures and signed autographs. Most of these children have never seen a professional baseball game, but have been Braves fans their whole lives.

La Amistad visited Turner Field in May for a 400 Club experience. La Amistad’s mission is to support Latino students and their families by providing a comprehensive support system through tutoring, mentoring, and resources. All of the kids received Greg Maddux bobbleheads and got to meet pitchers Shae Simmons and Pedro Beato, who posed for pictures and signed autographs. The chaperones whom accompanied these kiddos to the game all sponsor these well-deserving children in the La Amistad summer camp program as well as tutor them weekly at different Metro Atlanta locations.

In June, we were visited by the Marquis Grissom Baseball Association. Founded in 2006 by Marquis Grissom, MGBA is a non-profit organization that provides young athletes in underserved communities the opportunity to participate in a competitive baseball league. These young athletes, with hopes and dreams of one day becoming professional baseball players, watched the Braves take batting practice got the chance to a number of Braves players including Craig Kimbrel, Jason Heyward, B.J. and Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, and Tommy La Stella, along with first base coach, Terry Pendleton. What a memorable moment. Not only did they see a Braves win over the Marlins, but they had the opportunity to meet some of their role models from the Atlanta Braves!

In August, the 400 Fan Club welcomed about 30 youth chaperoned by police officers from the Police Athletic League (PAL). PAL is a non-profit, public benefit corporation whose mission is to provide a safe environment for youth to reach their full potential through partnerships with the police and community utilizing athletics and other programs. Braves infielder, Ramiro Pena, signed autographs during batting practice then it was off to their seats to enjoy a fun evening of Braves baseball!

For the final “Reach Out, Be Our Guest” event of the 2014 season, and in recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the Braves 400 Fan Club welcomed ten incredible young cancer warriors and their families from the Rally Foundation to Turner Field. Rally Foundation was established nine years ago in response to a mother’s call for help to raise money for childhood cancer research and fund the best cancer research available. Since 2005, Rally Foundation has given more than $5.25 million in research grants, funding 75 cutting-edge projects across the country. Braves pitcher Kris Medlen, one of the local spokespersons for Rally Foundation, sat in the bleachers with the children and their families during batting practice. Kris posed for numerous pictures, signed autographs, and talked with the kids, letting them sit on his lap and try on his glove!

What an amazing season for our community outreach efforts with our lovely 400 Club members. Children met their heroes, enjoyed their first Braves game, and had the time of their lives! We owe a huge thank you to the Braves 400 Club who funded these incredible events and to Chick-fil-A who graciously donated dinner for all youth participants and their chaperones. We can’t wait to see what next year has in store!

RaceTrac and Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive

This season, we teamed up with RaceTrac to collect gently used baseball and softball equipment as part of Major League Baseball’s annual Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive. This initiative benefits disadvantaged youth baseball and softball organizations that lack the necessary equipment to successfully participate in the game.

We called on Braves third baseman Chris Johnson for a little help to spread the word throughout Braves Country. Chris served as the 2014 Baseball Tomorrow Fund player ambassador and used his Twitter page to promote the collection dates. With his assistance, we were able to collect hundreds of bats, gloves, helmets, bags, uniforms and other essential baseball equipment for deserving organizations in the Metro Atlanta area.

Through the four monthly collections that went hand-in-hand with the RaceTrac Nights at Turner Field, we were able to collect over 1,000 pounds of equipment from Braves fans.

After the final collection date, we hosted a special on-field presentation to recognize RaceTrac for their support and the equipment drive recipients, the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta. Baseball Tomorrow Fund also presented the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta with a $5,000 check to use on their youth baseball and softball programs. Chris Johnson, Billy Milam, COO of RaceTrac, Melanie Bolch Isbill, RaceTrac Director of Marketing, and Kathi Bradley of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund were all present for this special on-field ceremony.

The following week, we made a special visit to the Samuel L. Jones Boys and Girls Club to drop off the donated equipment. Kristi Morris, RaceTrac Community Marketing Manager, and Justin Nix, RaceTrac Store Manager, joined us as we brought smiles to a lot of young faces who were excited and looking forward to playing baseball or softball with their new equipment. The remaining equipment was donated to the Atlanta Police Athletic League, Dekalb Police Athletic League, Carver YMCA, Creekside High School and Forrest Park High School.

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As you can see, these equipment drives allowed Braves Country to show their support for youth sports by giving many kids the opportunity to play this great game of baseball and look good doing it!

Making an Impact at D.H. Stanton Elementary

The Atlanta Braves established a long term partnership with Daniel H. Stanton Elementary dating back to 2004. D.H. Stanton is located just around the corner from Turner Field in the Peoplestown neighborhood. Each year, we meet with faculty and staff to plan activities in an effort to motivate, reward, and improve the quality of education for the students. We specifically target the areas of reading, physical activity, decreasing absenteeism and increasing parent participation.

We enjoyed planning a variety of activities for the students, teachers, and parents throughout the school year. In the spring, we welcomed the graduating 5th grade class to Turner Field for lunch, a tour of the stadium, and a chance to sharpen their batting and pitching skills in Scout’s Alley. Daphne Lipson, an outstanding 4th grader, was recognized prior to the Braves vs. Oakland Athletics game during the Chick-fil-A All Star Student Achiever presentation for academic excellence. Additionally, we surprised the staff with breakfast and tickets to a Braves game during Staff Appreciation Week.

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To kick off the 2014-15 school year, the Braves and Delta Air Lines employees joined forces for a “Braves Give” Saturday community volunteer project and assisted teachers in preparing their classrooms for the first day of school. The volunteers designed and decorated bulletin boards throughout the school, worked with the teachers to organize books and folders, cleaned classrooms, and created welcome back goodie bags for more than 200 students.

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Our support for the students and teachers continued through our partnership with Arrow Exterminators as we hosted a school supplies drive at Turner Field and at local Arrow Exterminators locations. Together our staff created gift baskets with the items collected and delivered them to the classrooms. Each classroom was gifted with items including staplers, paper, pencils, folders, erasers, glue, crayons, markers, calculators, and much more. Our staff volunteers delivered the baskets to each classroom and took time to read to the younger students and talked to the 4th and 5th graders about college and careers.

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In an effort to engage the parents, we are partnering with Goodwill of North Georgia to host a Career Workshop on November 5th. The workshop participants will receive guidance on resume building, interviewing skills, and professional image enhancement.

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Over the years, we have truly enjoyed our partnership with D.H. Stanton Elementary and we are always thinking of creative and unique ways to give back to youth in the Turner Field community. Through the Braves staff, players, fans and our corporate partners like Delta Air Lines and Arrow Exterminators we were able to make an impact and look forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come!

Atlanta Braves Foundations Grants a Record $300,000 to Local Non-profits

The Atlanta Braves Foundations is committed to giving back to the community. Since its establishment in 1992, the Braves Foundation has provided support to thousands of Atlanta-based organizations and has contributed more than $5.6 million in monetary and in-kind assistance to the community.

We raise these funds through various fundraisers during the season such as 50/50 Raffle, Foundation Weekend, silent auctions, online auctions, golf tournaments and luncheons. It’s because of our Braves fans, players and sponsors supporting all of these activities, that we are able to make a significant donation back into the community.

At the beginning of each Braves season, we invite non-profit organizations to apply for our annual grants program to receive funding to assist in their outreach efforts. The applicants must be youth-serving organizations that support education, recreation, and health initiatives.  The process is very competitive, as there are so many great organizations in the area that are in need of funding.

During the last week of the season, the Braves Foundation awarded more than $300,000 in grants to 40 deserving organizations. This funding will support initiatives including after-school programs, health and wellness initiatives, anti-bullying campaigns, athletic programs just to name a few. Take a few minutes to read about our 2014 Atlanta Braves Foundation Grant Recipients.

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  1. Alive Ministries will purchase and donate food and toiletries to children and families in need within the Cobb County School District.
  2. Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region will use funds to support the “No Place for Hate” anti-bullying initiative.
  3. Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta will integrate healthy living values into an edible landscape community garden at Anderson Boys & Girls Club.
  4. Camp Sunshine will enrich the lives of Georgia’s children with cancer and their families through year round recreational, educational and support programs.
  5. Center for Children & Young Adults will provide funding for bed frames and dressers for Another Chance, a 20 bed youth shelter.
  6. Center for Working Families will provide arts, beautification and education projects for parent and child living in neighborhood planning unit V.
  7. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta will purchase motion analysis equipment to help prevent injuries in young athletes.
  8. Christian Aid Mission Partnership will provide backpacks filled with school supplies to needy families in Cobb County.
  9. CHRIS Kids will provide Trauma kits to relieve stress for children in traumatic situations.
  10. City of Refuge will provide nutrition education, dance, and soccer to 50 homeless and at risk youth.
  11. Cobb Alcohol Taskforce will utilize peer leadership support and training to curb underage drinking through the Cobb Youth Rise program.
  12. Cobb Health Futures Foundation will support the media smart youth program that educates youth on media, physical activity and nutrition.
  13. Cobb Library Foundation will build designated teen centers for youth ages 12-19 to read, study and meet.
  14. Cobb Police Athletic League will provide registration fees, uniforms and equipment for youth.
  15. Cobb County Public Schools Education Foundation will focus on college-readiness preparation by proving tutorial and counseling for SAT/ACT exams and college planning during an after-school enrichment program.
  16. Community Advanced Practices Nurses will provide healthcare for homeless and low-income children.
  17. CURE Childhood Cancer – will fund the Open Arms program that provides patients and family services for children with cancer.
  18. East Lake Foundation will support the Charles R. Drew after-school program.
  19. Everybody Wins! Atlanta will provide a reading power lunch for students and volunteers at Dunbar Elementary School.
  20. Foster Siblings Reunited, Inc. will provide summer camp opportunities for siblings who have been separated in foster care the system.
  21. Fragile Kids Foundation will provide specialized medical equipment for children with disabilities.
  22. Girls on the Run of Atlanta will provide scholarships for young girls to participate in running programs that also focus on healthy lifestyles and nutrition.
  23. Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation will help fund the WOW! Program which provides memorable vacations for families dealing with cancer.
  24. Latin American Association will fund a program that helps Latino youth succeed in school and advance to higher education.
  25. L.E.A.D. will support the organization’s year-round baseball and life-skills development program for middle and high school students in Atlanta.
  26. Kamp Kizzy will support the Kamp Kizzy summer camp mentoring initiative for teen girls.
  27. Kutz for Kids will provide after school mentoring support for middle and high school students.
  28. Lutheran Services of Georgia will provide basic necessities to set up homes for refugee children.
  29. Make-A-Wish Georgia will grant special wish experiences to children with life threatening illnesses.
  30. Marietta Police Athletic League will provide ports clinics and transportation for disadvantaged youth to participate in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, golf, tennis, volleyball, martial arts.
  31. Marietta YELLS will launch a community library support healthy living through monthly teen-led community dinners.
  32. Muscular Dystrophy Association will fund medical supplies and costs for children to attend MDA Summer Camps.
  33. National Coalition of 100 Black Women, NW Georgia will support the High School to Heels program for teen girls.
  34. Special Olympics Georgia will help offset costs for youth to attend the Special Olympic Georgia State games.
  35. Ten Women of Hope will provide emergency assistance for single women with children including rent, utilities, medication, car repairs or other basic needs.
  36. The Brian Jordan Foundation will support Camp Jordan, a free baseball clinic for more than 200 disadvantaged children.
  37. Tomorrow’s Champion will provide opportunities for girls to learn the fundamentals of softball and life skills.
  38. Urban League of Greater Atlanta will award college scholarship opportunities to high school students.
  39. Villages of Carver Family YMCA will use funds to support the youth baseball initiatives at the Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Academy.
  40. YWCA of Northwest Georgia, Inc. will provide summer camp opportunities for children of domestic violence victims.

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 As you can see, there are so many great programs out there that will benefit a lot deserving children. We are proud to be a part of making an impact in the lives of so many people. Congratulations to all of our 2014 Braves Foundation Grantees!

If your organization is interested in receiving funding through the Atlanta Braves Foundation Grant program, please visit braves.com/grants in April, 2015 to apply.

Braves Breast Cancer Awareness Day Diamond of Hope Honoree: Spotlight on Diana Galloway

During our annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day Celebration in September we presented the Diamond of Hope Award to five empowering women who have engaged in the fight against breast cancer and have assisted other survivors through their difficult struggle.  We will be highlighting these incredible ladies throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month and sharing their stories with you.

Diana Galloway from Fayetteville, Georgia was kind enough to answer some questions for us in a recent interview and provide us with several photos taken throughout her courageous  journey. Read more about Diana below:

Name: Diana Galloway   

Age: 54

Occupation: Retired Flight Attendant 

Where in the world are you the happiest? My parents are from Barbados, West Indies. I feel so connected to my heritage when I am there amongst my ancestors. It is so calm, relaxing and everyone is happy. It is known as the happiest island in the world.

What is one thing that you wish everyone knew? I have always wanted to be Oprah Winfrey’s best friend. Secretly in my head, I am.

What do you do in your spare time? I love to cook, travel, plan family time and enjoy a good comedy movie and some popcorn. I travel some when I am not so busy saving the world.

Where are you from? I was born in Manchester England and grew up Brooklyn, New York

When were you diagnosed: November 11, 2011

Who has been your biggest support system through your journey? My husband was there every step of the way. He changed bandages, drained my tubes and even carried my purse. He would sit in the waiting room and joke with the other husbands about having to carry their wives handbags. His sister even wrote a beautiful poem about him called the Purse Carrier. Alongside my husband was my children and grandchildren. I had to keep a brave front for them because I could see the fear on their faces.

What kept (or keeps) you going through this period? Staying busy with establishing the Atlanta Southern Region of  Sisters Network and my quest to making sure no woman has to go through this journey alone. Everyone kept telling me that I needed to rest and take it easy, but doubt, fear and depression would consume me. I had to stay busy and focused. After my first of 10 surgeries, I opened a thrift store which was the beginning of my ministry to help and serve women. I met so many survivors who needed help, and I was constantly giving them some type of assistance. So then, I came up with a way to do something that could provide assistance to women in treatment who needed financial assistance.

Your favorite inspirational quote? “People will forget what you do, people will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you make them feel.” -Maya Angelou

How have you grown during your journey? I’ve learned that life can change for you in the blink of an eye. No matter what happens, you cannot let your emotions get in the way. Don’t take it personal. God puts you through situations to teach you, so you can grow and learn.

Do you have any inspirational words of advice for others going through recovery? It could always be worse. God saves his toughest battles for his strongest soldiers. Fight with all your might.

Diana truly is a soldier in the fight against Breast Cancer. She is the president of the Atlanta Southern Region affiliate Chapter of Sisters Network, Inc., an organization committed to increasing local and national attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American community. She works every day to support those going through similar battles that she once fought. Diana is one of five honorees of the Diamond of Hope Award, all whom we will be highlighting this month as we honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

 

Miracle League Mondays at Turner Field

The Atlanta Braves teamed up with the Miracle League to give a very special group of children the chance to rub elbows with “big leaguers” during batting practice every Monday during baseball season – also known as “Miracle League Monday.”

The Miracle League provides unique opportunities for children with disabilities to play baseball, regardless of their abilities by removing barriers that keep them off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime.

During every Monday home game, we hosted Miracle League families from all over Braves Country during batting practice and allowed them the opportunity to watch the Braves players warm up and get ready for that evening’s game.

Upon their arrival, each family was greeted with goody bags filled with Braves swag and escorted on a short tour of ballpark before heading down to the field for batting practice. Our special guests observed batting practice from a VIP area where they enjoyed an inside look at some of their favorite professional athletes prepare for the game. With this exclusive access, the families were able to take photos, get autographs from their favorite players and in some cases, take home game used equipment that was personally given to them by some of the Braves superstars. You can probably imagine the excitement felt not only by the child, but the entire family.

At the end of their batting practice experience, the families headed up to their seats where they were able to enjoy the game and magic of Turner Field.

Thank you to all of our Miracle League Families that participated this year! We look forward to meeting more of the inspiring Miracle League athletes during the 2015.

Over 250 Breast Cancer Survivors Paint Turner Field Pink

Every year, we celebrate the lives of breast cancer survivors during the annual Braves Breast Cancer Awareness Day presented by Wellstar Health System and Kroger. On Sunday, September 21, over 250 courageous and brave survivors helped us paint the park pink during a very special day at the ballpark.

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Our survivors started arriving early that Sunday morning to the ballpark to check-in and receive their tickets,  a pink Breast Cancer Awareness Day shirt, and their fabulous satin survivor sash. To further promote this initiative, American Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer distributed information to Braves fans about breast cancer screening and detection. Additionally, members of GSU’s Zeta Tau Alpha  Sorority gave out pink ribbons to the fans at the gates. Many new friendships were made that day as some survivors came with their support groups and some even attended by themselves.

Once checked-in, all survivors along with their family and friends entered the gates and made their way to the Breast Cancer Survivor Celebration reception. More than 500 guests enjoyed complimentary snacks and refreshments and the opportunity to fellowship with one another.

At the reception, survivors got the chance to hear some encouraging words from our guest speaker and host Lauren Hudson.  Lauren is an Emmy winning reporter, motivational speaker and a breast cancer survivor. Not only was Lauren entertaining, but she was very honest as she talked about her battle with breast cancer, she was uplifting and delivered an inspiring message filled with optimism.  Lauren even led everyone in a round of Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

Laura Taylor, Breast Nurse Navigator with WellStar Health Systems and Shari Henning with EVP with American Cancer Society’s South Atlantic Division also shared words of encouragement.

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The most anticipated part of the reception was the announcement of the Diamond of Hope award winners. This extremely coveted award honors survivors who have engaged in the fight against breast cancer or assisted other survivors through their difficult struggle. With the help of the Braves Wives, we selected 5 incredible women from all over Braves Country who were nominated by friends and family. The winners were: Kathi Shephard of Lexington, South Carolina, Diana Galloway of Fayettville, GA, Stacy Franklin of Jonesboro, GA, Maggie Davis of Roswell, GA, and Juanita Williams of Decatur, GA. These five lovely ladies all received beautiful award momentos presented by Braves pitcher Craig Kimbrel, who came to the reception to spend a moment with all of the survivors.

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Once the reception came to a close, it was time for the most exciting part of the day, the survivor “Walk in the Park” and on field balloon release! All decked out in pink, the survivors marched down to the field, received pink balloons and were then led onto the field by the Braves wives including, Tia Johnson, Anahi Peña, Leanna Floyd, Ashley Kimbrel, Nikki Russell, Gabriella Perez, Mariana Materan, Lisa Mendez. The survivors lined the outfield while the members of Zeta created a human breast cancer awareness ribbon around the pitcher’s mound, as a symbol of hope that a cure will be found and to remind the fans the importance of early detection. On the count of three, everyone released the pink balloons into the air. As you can imagine, there were a lot of hugs, cheers and even tears both on the field and in the stands.

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This event brings inspiring women, and even men, from all over Braves Country to Turner Field every year for one purpose; to bring awareness to a life-altering disease that thousands of people struggle with every day. We were so honored to have the survivors with us on this special day to celebrate their survivorship.  We wish all of our participants happiness and the best of health in their journeys and we look forward to see each and every one of them again next year!

Learn more about our Diamond of Hope Winners as we highlight them in upcoming blog posts during Breast Cancer Awareness month!

Future Braves Stars Host Baseball Clinic for East Marietta Little Leaguers

It was a clear, crisp morning on Saturday, September 20 as 14 of the best Minor League players from the Braves organization took the field at East Marietta Little League at Sewell Park in Cobb County. About 60 youth baseball players were there and ready to learn hitting, fielding, and base running from these “Future Stars.” The 14 Braves Minor Leaguers were chosen as the best pitchers and hitters from each league leading up to the Major League Atlanta Braves (from Dominican Summer League, to Rookie ball, all the way through the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves). As part of the weekend festivities for the players, they volunteered their Saturday morning to teach young ballplayers many of the skills that led them to where they are today.

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The clinic was split into four stations: hitting, infield work, base running, and outfield work. There were 3-4 players at each station, which gave ample instruction to each group of 15 ballplayers. By the end of the clinic – not only were the young ballplayers worn out, but so were the Minor Leaguers!

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Once the clinic ended – everyone gathered back on the main field for a group photo. Then came a nice surprise, autographs! We set up an autograph station for all the participants to get signatures from the “Future Stars.” A gift bag with a Braves t-shirt, a Braves sticker, and a Braves hat was also given to each participant. Many of these “Future Stars” will be on the Major League roster in a few years, so this was a great opportunity to meet and learn from the guys now.

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Following the clinic, Tim Givens, East Marietta Little League President, responded with a really nice note about the event. “What a great day! Thank you so much for giving our park such an incredible experience! I know the kids will be talking about it for a really long time.” Tim was such a great host and helped us in organizing this awesome day for East Marietta Little League and our Minor League players. We all really enjoyed it!

This is the fourth year that we have been able to host a community event as part of our Minor League Future Stars awards celebration. Some of the other events included feeding the homeless and visiting a children’s hospital.

Thankful to be able to give back to the community, the players really enjoyed their experience interacting with the youngsters.  Ronnie Richardson, Director of Minor League Operations, had this to say about the clinic, “Thank you for organizing a great community event for our Minor League Players.  The overall experience for our players was great and they truly enjoyed interacting with the fans.  Our goal is not only to develop good baseball players, but also to develop players that have a desire to give back to the community when they have the opportunity.”

Below are the Minor League award winners for 2014 that participated in the clinic.

  • Jason Hursh – Mississippi Braves
  • Williams Perez – Mississippi Braves
  • Nate Hyatt – Lynchburg Hillcats
  • Yean Carlos Gil – Rome Braves
  • Alec Grosser – Danville Braves
  • Jorge Zavala – Gulf Coast League
  • Dilmer Mejia – Dominican Summer League
  • Jose Peraza – Mississippi Braves
  • Kyle Kubitza – Mississippi Braves
  • Kyle Wren – Lynchburg Hillcats
  • Jake Schrader – Rome Braves
  • Ozhaino Albies – Danville Braves
  • Alejandro Salazar – Dominican Summer League

Look for these outstanding young men to be with the Atlanta Braves in the near future!

Braves Players Help Santa Deliver Toys Early

Christmas arrived early this year, when the Atlanta Braves players, coaches, and the Braves Wives along with front office members, spread holiday cheer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite.  This is a favorite event for our organization in which we take time to visit with children and their families, and distribute toys collected during the Braves Wives Toy Drive.

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Each year, the Braves Wives host a Toy Drive prior to a Braves baseball game and invite fans to donate toys that are used for this particular event. The Toy Drive was a huge success this season and it gave all the children at CHOA a toy to call their own. Fans who donated were entered into a raffle to receive autographed items signed by current Braves players.

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Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez, Coach Roger McDowell, Braves players Tyler Pastornicky, Shae Simmons, Chasen Shreve, David Hale, Justin Upton and his fiancé, Craig Kimbrel and his wife, Alex Wood and his girlfriend, Gus Schlosser and his girlfriend, Leanna Floyd, wife of Braves pitcher Gavin Floyd spent the morning visiting kids room to room.

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The players, coaches, and wives split into groups each with a little red wagon full of toys. For many of the children staying at CHOA having a sense of normalcy is difficult because of the treatment they receive depending on their conditions. The players and coaches greeted the families, the wives presented the toys, and the group posed for photos.

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After making their rounds in the hospital, the players made a final stop at the Fun Zone where they surprised a group of eager Braves fans who heard the rumors of some special guests in the hospital. The Fun Zone is a kid’s dream play space filled with video games, board games, arts & crafts, and an outdoor mini court. The Braves front office staff lead a special Braves arts & crafts project with the patients in the Zone before they were surprised by their favorite Braves players.

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The excitement in the room could not be contained, as the players and coaches mingled with the kids, signing autographs, and playing games. The parents and staff were grateful that indeed Christmas arrived early for their little ones.

Thank you to all of our Braves players, coaches, wives, and front office staff for making this visit a memorable one for all these kids!

Braves, Babies and Baseball!

The Braves Wives invited 25 special military moms-to-be to Turner Field recently for an unforgettable baby shower to help them celebrate their upcoming journey into motherhood. IMG_1496

Thanks to Lennie Rubin with United Military Care, Inc. we were able to invite ladies from military bases all over the state of Georgia including Ft. Stewart, Ft. Benning, Robbins Air Force, Ft. Gordon and Georgia National Guard. Most of these women are married to brave men from different branches of the military, and two of our moms were both in the Navy. We also had one expectant mother give birth early and attend the shower with her five-day-old baby boy.

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The eager young mothers and their guests arrived at Turner Field and were escorted to the 755 Club and directed into the private party where they were greeted by the Braves Wives and enjoyed a lavish buffet and beautiful three tier vanilla cake donated by Tommy Rhodes of Rhodes Family Bakery. The Braves Wives in attendance included Pam Gonzalez, Nikki Russell, Angie Fletcher, Theresa Tosca, Leanna Floyd, Ashley Kimbrel, Tia Johnson, Carman Walker and Gabriella Perez. Greer Howard, BravesVision host and a military wife/mom herself, served as emcee and Braves President John Schuerholz addressed the men and women in attendance, thanked them for their service to our country, and congratulated them on the pending arrival of their babies.

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As they anxiously awaited the start of the shower, we wasted no time in getting the games started by asking each attendee to guess the number of diaper pins in the baby bottle.  Each shower game had many great prizes at stake donated from wonderful companies, which brought out the competitive side in everyone.

First on the agenda was a baby word search and a celebrity baby name game. Winners were rewarded lovely gift bags filled with necessities to get them through the first few months of motherhood. Some of the prizes included Pediped baby footwear and giftcards, delightful luxury European Pacapod baby bags, and the cutest little baby wetsuit by Konfidence USA.

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Next, Pam Gonzalez led the expectant mothers in a game where they were asked to guestimate how much toilet paper it would take to go around the mommy-to-be’s pregnant bellies. This game got a few husbands in trouble. The winner of this game walked away with the coveted Babyhome Eat highchair.

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Next, the ladies joined the Braves Wives in a circle of chairs to play a baby shower favorite, “Pass the Dirty Diaper.” They passed around a diaper filled with chocolate pudding, to the rules of hot potato. When the music stopped, the woman holding the dirty diaper was removed from the game. As the circle got smaller, the competition got more heated and eventually dwindled down to two ladies. After the last round, a winner was named and she walked away with a Naturalmat Coco Mat crib mattress valued at $400.

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In-between all of the fun shower games and activities, there were many raffle prizes to be won. All of the moms and theirs guests got the chance to win awesome prizes such as assorted items from MAM USA such as pacifiers, baby bottles and teethers as well as autographed Braves memorabilia.

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Finally, the winner who guessed the correct number of diaper pins in the baby bottle at check-in was revealed and received a Duux Air Humidifier.

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To round out the festivities, the Braves Wives presented each mom with large gift baskets filled with everything they will need to get them through the first couple of months after the babies are born. The gifts inside these beautiful baskets included: B.Box travel bibs and diaper wallets, Silikids silibibs, MAM feed and soothe bottle gift sets and pacifiers, Honest Company arrival sets, Target and Babies’R’Us gift cards purchases by the Braves Wives, Baby Blanket music CDs, Brian James Footwear giftcards, Konfidence baby swimwear and roll and go baby changers, and scrumptious chocolate chip cookies provided by Sensational Baskets and multiple boxes of Huggies diapers and wipes.  Many of these gifts were secured through Hilary Abbott, CEO of Hilary Abbott Communications, Inc. and high profile publicist. You can find many of her clients in publications like People Magazine!

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The shower ended just in time for some Braves baseball! The women and their guests all left their goodies with us while they enjoyed the magic of Turner Field. Overwhelmed with gratitude and all of their new precious goodies, the ladies were all very appreciative as they anticipate the new additions to their families.

This event was very successful in large part to the Braves Wives and our amazing partners who donated tons of great items for us to use as raffle prizes and gift basket goodies. A big thank you to our donors:

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