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.
Every July, the Atlanta Braves spread holiday cheer during our annual “Christmas in July” hospital visits at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Shepherd Center. This year Braves front office staff members were joined by Braves players, their wives, and coaches for the special visits. Many of the toys, which were distributed to the children during this visit, were donated during the Braves Wives annual Toy Drive.
Atlanta Braves players and their wives Craig and Ashley Kimbrel, Reed and Taryn Johnson, Tim and Kim Hudson, Jordan Walden and his girlfriend Deanna, along with Braves coaches Brian and his wife Ronnie Snitker and Roger McDowell visited children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. The players and coaches were able to visit all the children in the hospital and participated in arts and crafts activities. Braves Manager, Fredi Gonzalez and his wife Pam, and Braves players Alex Wood, David Carpenter, and Paul Maholm spent time with patients at the Shepard Center.
On Thursday, April 25th members of the Atlanta Braves front office staff visited PAWS Atlanta, a private, not-for-profit animal welfare organization founded in 1966. PAWS Atlanta is a no-kill shelter, meaning they do not euthanize animals based on need for space; the focus is on finding these loving animals a forever home.
PAWS Atlanta is a staff favorite Braves Care project, so we had excellent participation! We worked on a range of projects to help the shelter. One group changed the marquee signs, then organized spare cages and other supplies before taking the dogs out on a walk. They did an outstanding job organizing a space that the staff had not had a chance to care to.
The next group organized the entire food shed – which stores not only the food for the shelter, but food for those who may not be able to afford to feed their pets for a short amount of time. This shed also housed important documents for the organization, and our volunteers took it a step further and completely reorganized the shed.
The third group cleaned windows and visited kittens in the Cat Cottage. The last two groups shredded donated newspaper for the kennels and the other prepared dogs for baths. Then we all helped bring all of the dogs in for lunch and walk them afterwards!
After all of the work was done, it was time for a miniature photo shoot with the entire group and a handful of puppies. Many of us, myself included, fought the urge to take one or all of them home! If you’re looking for a new family pet, you should absolutely consider rescuing a dog or cat! To learn more about P.A.W.S. Atlanta, visit their website here!
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book, and read to a child!”– Dr. Seuss
Friday, some of the Braves staff got in touch with their inner child and opened up a Dr. Seuss book! Volunteers went to D.H. Stanton Elementary, our partner school just blocks from Turner Field, and served as guest readers to help celebrate Read Across America and the famous Dr. Seuss’ birthday! The man responsible for great stories like Green Eggs and Ham, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! , and The Cat in the Hat would have turned 109 on March 2nd!
To celebrate his birthday, students at D.H. Stanton prepared for a reading bowl – the winner received a Dr. Seuss cake for the movie that afternoon. I really wish we could have stayed all day, so that we could have joined in on the cake and closed circuit broadcast of The Lorax, but we had to get back to the office…
We divided up and read books to TWELVE classrooms ranging from Pre-K to 3rd grade. I had the pleasure of reading There’s a Wocket in my Pocket to the most adorable class. They had their hats and favorite Dr. Seuss books ready to go. They were the best audience I could have asked for, totally engaged and loving it. I have to say, I’m a little sad that I didn’t get to wear that fantastic hat the rest of the day…
Other books that made an appearance that Friday included Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, and The Butter Battle Book. We spent Thursday morning packing goody bags, and those were definitely a hit with the kids (and faculty!). When I told the kids about said goody bags, I mistakenly called them a “treat,” so I did have a few who were disappointed that they weren’t the kind of treats that you eat.
We definitely had a great group of volunteers out bright and early on a Friday morning, and I can safely say everyone had a great time. Personally, I think there are few better joys than seeing a child’s face light up, so it definitely made the rest of the workday brighter!
“You are you and that is true, there’s no one in the world who’s you-er than you.”
― Dr. Seuss
On Valentine’s Day we had our first Braves Care program of 2013! We loaded up with hats, tomahawks, chocolates, and autographed baseballs and headed over to A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab Center. We then spent the afternoon playing Bingo & socializing with the residents. The ladies were all very impressed by the gentlemen we brought over from the office and admitted that they were a little flustered in the presence of such “handsome young men!”
We handed out autographed baseballs to the winners of each Bingo game, obviously the Jason Heyward and Brian McCann autographs received the biggest reaction, but the biggest crowd pleasers were definitely the tomahawks. The residents played around with them like children, pretending to chop at each other and then breaking into the chant we’re so used to hearing at Turner Field.
All in all, it was a great way to spend Valentine’s Day!