Braves fans, do you know a courageous person who has battled or is battling breast cancer?
Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Braves are looking for our 2014 Honorary Bat Girl. This Mother’s Day we are celebrating the stories of Braves fans who are “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” in their daily lives. As part of our continued support in bringing awareness to this disease we want to honor our fans and celebrate their journey.
Now through March 24, submit a story about how you or someone you know is “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” and why they deserve to be an Honorary Atlanta Braves Bat Girl.
One (1) Honorary Bat Girl will be selected and will be recognized during an on-field presentations on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11 at Turner Field before the Braves vs. Chicago Cubs game. The winner will also receive four (4) game tickets, a Louisville Slugger Pink engraved bat and a commemorative jersey.
Visit http://www.honorarybatgirl.com to submit your stories and learn more about this exciting opportunity!
The Braves Foundation teamed up with our 2013 Grant recipient, The Cross Keys Foundation, to celebrate the unveiling of the Briarwood Park “Little Free Library” on January 16.
We were joined by various media outlets as well as representatives from area schools, the Brookhaven Police department, City of Brookhaven elected officials and lots of neighborhood kids and families.
The “Little Free Library” establishes a highly visible monument to the importance of literacy and early reading and neighborhood parks. The Briarwood Park “Little Free Library” is the first of many libraries to come and will stand as testimony of the community’s commitment to education. Most importantly, the children will be reminded of this fact every time they visit the playground.
The children will have the opportunity to take a book and bring it back, or simply keep them. Cross Keys Foundation partners including the Briarwood Park Conservancy and Brookhaven Storage have committed to host book drives in an effort to keep the libraries stocked with books. Community volunteers will see to it that the “Little Free Library” is stocked on a continual basis. Everyone in attendance was encouraged to add a book to the library.
The goal of the project is to promote excitement about reading among elementary age children and much to our delight, the children couldn’t get to the books fast enough as they immediately begin to takes the book and start reading!
Every holiday season, the Atlanta Braves host special holiday activities to enhance the lives of others. In the Spirit of Giving, we adopted senior citizens for our Angel Tree program and we also hosted our annual “Braves Bowl,” a holiday bowling party for military families.
We know that the holidays can be difficult for those who do not have anyone to share them with. We wanted to do something different and decided to help our senior citizens who are sometimes forgotten around the holidays.
We partnered with Second Wind Dreams, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the perception of aging. Second Wind Dreams offers education on dementia, grants wishes for seniors, and educates the general population on issues related to the elderly. Braves employees adopted 50 senior citizens residing at Decatur Senior Living and College Park Healthcare. These seniors, ranging in ages from age 60 to 95 were gifted with items from their wish lists including sweatsuits, alarm clocks, robes, socks, hats, gloves and candy. As you can see, these seniors didn’t ask for much, so it was the least we could do put smiles on their faces just in time for Christmas!
We continued to spread holiday cheer for 40 military families at our annual Braves “Braves Bowl” Holiday Party at Midtown Bowl. This is the third year that we have held this event to honor and thank the soldiers and their families for their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country.
Parents and children from the United Military Care Inc., Wounded Warrior Project, and the Georgia National Guard were greeted by Homer the Mascot, and received a warm welcome from Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez. Braves Alumni Marty Perez and Johnny Estrada along with and Gwinnett Braves Manager Brian Snitker also came out to bowl with the families, sign autographs and take pictures. To round out the day, three lucky soldiers got the opportunity to bowl against Estrada, Perez and Gonzalez for bragging rights and Braves prize packs.
Many thanks to the Braves front office staff, our alumni players, coaches, the Braves 400 Club volunteers, Midtown Bowl and Second Wind Dreams for making this holiday seasons’ activities a huge success!
The MLB umpires offer memorable baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption and at-risk youth through the UMPS Care Charities BLUE Crew Tickets program. This season the Atlanta Braves facilitated two BLUE Crew Ticket visits with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, a mentoring organization that serves over 3,390 youth in Metro Atlanta. The organization pairs children and their families with caring adults that can provide strong and encouraging friendships that impacts children’s lives for the better.
The first UMPS Care visit was held with umpires Jim Wolf and Jeff Nelson. The second visit was hosted by umpires Marvin Hudson and Wally Bell. The honorary guests were greeted at the main gates of Turner Field with goodies bags filled with Braves gear, snacks, and concession coupons courtesy of the Braves and UMPS Care Charities. The guests were escorted to the umpires
Locker room to meet the officials for the day’s game. Inside the umpires locker rooms, the officials spoke about their pre-game agenda and signed baseballs for the group. They also got the chance to view the instant replay box and walked through the umpires tunnel to the field. On the field, the umpires showed them their positions during the game, answered questions and discussed the favorite part of their roles. The visit ended with the umpires and the special guests taking a group photo on the field.
Many thanks to MLB Umpires Jim, Jeff, Marvin and Wally for their time during pre-game to meet with the youth and adults and expose them to different type of baseball experience.
Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) is a Major League Baseball youth outreach program designed to increase participation in baseball and softball among underserved youth. The Atlanta Braves partner with the Pattillo-RBI Atlanta league to further that mission. This season, Pattillo-RBI Atlanta athletes participated in various clinics and tournaments hosted by the Braves, received multiple grants, won an RBI Softball World Series, and had the chance to attend several Braves games courtesy of BJ Upton and RBI Alum, Justin Upton.
The Upton brothers donated Braves tickets to the Reach Out, Be Our Guest Program, which enable the Braves organization to provide complimentary tickets to children and individuals who would otherwise not have the means to attend a professional baseball game. The RBI athletes had a chance to come to the games early, watch batting practice and meet the Uptons and other Braves players.
In August, the Pattillo-RBI Atlanta softball team defeated the Houston RBI team in Minneapolis to bring home the World Series title. The team entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed but left the tournament champions with a 4-3 victory in the final game. This title represents the 8th for the Atlanta softball team, the most in league history.
To cap off a successful season, Pattillo-RBI Atlanta received two monetary grants to help with the purchase of equipment, uniforms, umpire fees and travel fees. Chevrolet awarded $2,100 from the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel MLB road trip celebration and recording artist Scotty McCreery presented the league with $5,000, as part of his six-city Major League Baseball stadium tour. The softball team even got the chance to meet Scotty before his post game concert and participate in a check presentation on the field.
The Braves congratulate RBI Atlanta for all of their accomplishments this season. For more information on the RBI program, please visit the website here.
During the 2013 season, the Atlanta Braves teamed up with State Farm Insurance to recognize local nonprofit organizations for their unwavering commitment to the community with the State Farm Pitch In Award. Six local organizations were honored for their service to the community: The Study Hall, Emmaus House, The Miracle League, Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, Latin American Association, and the East Lake Foundation. Representatives from these organizations each received an award from a State Farm representative and an Atlanta Braves player in special pregame presentations.
The Study Hall is an after-school and summer camp program that serves elementary school children in Peoplestown, the community surrounding Turner Field. The Study Hall provides year round services and offers an educational and enrichment curriculum that equips children to achieve sustained personal and academic success.
Emmaus House is a center for community life on the corner of Hank Aaron Drive and Haygood Avenue in the Peoplestown neighborhood just south of Turner Field. Founded by the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, Emmaus House offers over 150,000 hours of direct service in programs for youth, adults, seniors and families each year.
The Miracle League was founded in Rockdale County, just east of Turner Field, to allow children with special needs participate in America’s favorite pastime. Today there are 250 Miracle League Organizations across the country including Puerto Rico, Canada, and Australia. The Miracle League serves over 200,000 children and young adults with disabilities. These teams play on a specialty playing surface designed to facilitate wheelchairs and walkers and use ‘buddies’ (community volunteers and children) to assist the players.
Rally Foundation is a non-profit foundation that empowers volunteers across the country to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures. Former Braves pitcher, Tom Glavine, has served as a spokesperson and has led the Money in the Mitt fundraising campaign. Brian McCann and his wife Ashley are also spokespeople and are actively involved in raising awareness and funds for the Rally Foundation.
The mission of the Latin American Association is to empower Latinos to achieve their academic, social, and economic aspirations. Today, as the leading service provider of social services for the Latino community in metro Atlanta, the LAA offers a range of programs that guide Latinos with solutions to address their basic needs and provide them with the information and skills necessary to achieve their fullest potential. The LAA aims to increase family stability, build skills, promote the development of Latino individuals, families and youth, and promote community involvement.
Founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, the East Lake Foundation collaborates with public and private organizations to offer Atlanta’s East Lake residents opportunities to build a better future through education for children and adults, affordable housing, job readiness and connections with the broader community. Other cities seeking to transform their neighborhoods are turning to the Foundation for best practices.
On Thursday, October 17th, twenty volunteers from the Atlanta Braves front office staff went to visit the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge on Emory University’s campus for our monthly Braves Care community outreach activity.
The Hope Lodge provides cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when they are receiving treatment far away from home. Each Hope Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment where patients can receive free transportation to and from their treatments, information on their cancer and how to best fight it, and support from volunteers and others fighting the same fight.
Daily activities are provided for the Hope Lodge residents, and the Braves Care program was the special activity for the day. The residents and Braves Care volunteers decorated pumpkins for Halloween and played in a highly competitive corn toss competition. Winning teams from the corn toss competition were given autographed baseballs and gift bags filled with Halloween candy, braves caps, stickers and foam tomahawks.
To close out the afternoon, Braves employees were given a tour of the third largest Hope Lodge facility in the country, including a sitting area decorated by the creative staff at Lilly Pulitzer. After the tour, guests participated in a quick Braves Trivia round for more autographed items, and posed with their pumpkins for a group photo! For more information on the American Cancer Society Hope lodge, please visit their website here.
During the 2013 season, the Atlanta Braves and Kroger partnered to host Strike Out Hunger. This community initiative raised awareness on the disparity of hunger in Georgia and resources to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Founded in 1979, the Atlanta Community Food Bank procures over 45 million pounds of food and groceries each year and distributes it to over 600 hunger relief programs in 29 metro Atlanta and North Georgia Communities.
Friday Nights at Turner Field were known as Strike Out Hunger Night. Braves Fans made canned food and monetary donations to support the Atlanta Community Food Bank. In exchange for their contributions fans received autographs from current Braves pitchers. Additionally, several Braves Alumni, including Javy Lopez, Charlie Leibrandt, Jim Nash, Terry Pendleton, and Greg McMichael supported this initiative at various Kroger locations by signing autographs for fans that made donations to the Strike Out Hunger initiative.
Strike Out Hunger was a huge success due to the team effort of our partner Kroger, fans all over Braves Country, Braves alumni, and Braves pitchers including Tim Hudson, Jonny Venters, Luis Avilan, Craig Kimbrel, Kris Medlen, Alex Wood, Jordan Walden, Julio Tehran, Paul Maholm, Luis Ayala, Anthony Varvaro, and Freddy Garcia.
To cap off a successful season, Braves pitcher Tim Hudson and Kroger representative Glen Jenkins, presented a check to Sara Fonder-Kristy of the Atlanta Community Food Bank on the field before the final home game of this season. Strike Out Hunger resulted in the collection of 9,228 pounds of food and $10,247 to assist the Atlanta Community Food Bank in providing healthy meals to Georgia families in need.
On Saturday, September 28th, twelve of the Atlanta Braves top prospects volunteered their time to put on a free baseball clinic for kids ages 8-12. The Atlanta Braves organizational pitchers and players of the year are tasked with a community service project every year, this year they chose to put on a baseball skills clinic at the Atlanta Braves Baseball Academy located at the Carver YMCA.
The following Future Stars participated in the clinic: Tommy La Stella, Mississippi Braves; Robby Hefflinger, Lynchburg Hillcats; Shae Simmons and Jose Peraza, Rome Braves; Andrew Waszak and Victor Caratini, Danville Braves; Oriel Caicedo and Victor Reyes, Gulf Coast League Braves; Felix Falcon and Kelvin Esteves, Dominican Summer League; overall organizational player of the year Josh Elander, Rome Braves and Lynchburg Hillcats and overall organizational pitcher of the year, Luke Sims; Rome Braves.
The youth baseball players cycled through various stations focusing on hitting, base running, pop flies, and fielding. Following their rotation through all of the stations, all of the athletes lined up to receive Atlanta Braves goody bags, complete with a hat and foam tomahawk, before filing through the autograph line, and picking up their tickets to one of the two final home games of the regular season.