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.
As part of the Braves Wives commitment to make an impact in the metro Atlanta community, the group hosted an auction featuring gift baskets containing the favorite things of the Atlanta Braves players. The proceeds from the auction benefitted the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” initiative. This program empowers schools and communities to tackle prejudice, bullying, and intergroup conflict and educates youth on speaking out against bullying.
On September 13, prior to the Braves vs. Padres game, the Braves Wives greeted and encouraged fans to place bids on the elaborate gift baskets. The auction featured favorite things from Braves players Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton, BJ Upton, Anthony Varvaro, Dan Uggla, Chris Johnson, Freddie Freeman, Reed Johnson, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Paul Maholm, Jordan Schafer, Evan Gattis, Tim Hudson, Paul Janish, Joey Terdoslavich, and Manager Fredi Gonzalez. These eye-catching baskets included snacks, movies, wine bottles, cleats, books, restaurants gift cards, autographed memorabilia and more.
The highest selling gift basket contained Craig Kimbrel’s favorite things, including his jersey from the 2013 All-Star Game, gift cards to Cracker Barrel and Bass Pro Shop, Blue Cheese Olives, and more. Kimbrel’s basket sold for a final bid of $1,025.
Kris Medlen’s favorite things were packaged a little different than the rest, his came in a large blue cooler. His favorite things included a Freddie Freeman bobblehead, autographed cleats, a copy of Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss, and the Breaking Bad DVD collection. His basket raised $850 for “No Place for Hate.”
The Braves Wives raised a total of $7,900 and would like to thank all the Braves Fans for their generous support of their auction and the “No Place for Hate” initiative.
Since 2007, the Braves 400 Fan Club has worked with the Atlanta Braves Foundation’s Reach Out, Be Our Guest program to provide special experiences for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise be able to attend a Braves game. Thanks to the 400 Club’s generosity, five groups were able to come to a Turner Field, watch batting practice from behind the Braves dugout, and enjoy a Chick-fil-A dinner before heading to their seats to enjoy the game. The groups that participated in this year’s programs were: Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes, Friends of Refugees, Cobb County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, City of Refuge, and Mission on the Move. Special thanks to Braves 400 Club Members Lynn Walley, Lynn Camp, Mary Lou Brooks, Jean Berken, and Dave and Nancy Badertscher for hosting these groups.
Below are photos from various group visits:
On Saturday, September 14th, the Atlanta Braves partnered with Kroger, WellStar, and the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for the seventh Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The day-long celebration of survivorship honored those who have courageously battled breast cancer, and raised awareness and funds to support research, education and advocacy for cancer patients and their families throughout Braves Country.
Breast Cancer survivors, friends, and family members were invited to a pre-game reception and were welcomed by Laura Taylor – Breast Nurse Navigator at WellStar Douglas Hospital and Crystal Mantooth – Sr. Director of Community Events with American Cancer Society, and featuring guest speaker Shondia McFadden-Sabari, Executive Director of BOLDANDBREASTLESS, Inc. Shondia has been featured in national and local outlets such as Essence Magazine and Huffington Post. In 2011, at age 36, Shondia was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. She chose not to have reconstructive surgery because she feels that life is all the really matters. Shondia shares her story with countless women around the United States in an effort to encourage early detection and to provide support and hope to other survivors.
To close out the reception, Braves Pitcher, David Carpenter, helped recognize our Diamond of Hope award winners. This year inspirational survivors who have engaged in the fight against breast cancer or assisted other survivors through their difficult struggle were honored.
This incredible event would not have been possible without the help of volunteers from the Braves 400 Fan Club, Georgia State University, and the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
Following the reception, more than 300 Breast Cancer survivors, participated in a moving on-field ceremony that ended with a balloon release representing the hope that a cure for Breast Cancer will be found. Joining the survivors on the field was Braves catcher Evan Gattis, who stood with Leticia Reinke, wife of his college baseball coach.
2013 Diamond of Hope Winners:
Erma Killings nominated by her son, Justin, and friend Ruby for being an inspiration to others diagnosed with Breast Cancer and not once letting the cancer dull her light.
Jennifer Wachacha nominated by her sister, Lovedy Paige Gross, for her outstanding dedication to fundraising for research and eventually a cure for Breast Cancer.
Christa McArthur nominated by her husband, David, for not missing a step when she was diagnosed, continuing her work as an oncology nurse and even mixing her own chemo on occasion.
TeMaya Eatmon nominated by Stacey Chavis for making it her personal mission to change the face of Breast Cancer so that younger women are made more aware of symptoms and signs for early detection.
Shondia McFadden-Sabari nominated by the Braves Community Affairs department for her outstanding work to generate awareness in the metro Atlanta area.