Last week, to kick off summer, we partnered with Academy Sports and Outdoors to surprise 50 first and second graders at Argyle Elementary School in Smyrna with brand new bikes.
Students were selected by school administration based on academic achievement and were told they were going to an “end of the school year party.” They were escorted to the school gymnasium where they were welcomed by a spirit tunnel of Braves staff, Academy Sports and Outdoors staff, and local firefighters. Each student enjoyed a Chick-fil-A kid’s meal while Braves mascot, Homer, entertained the group with musical chairs and tumbling tricks.
As everyone finished eating, Braves players Daniel Castro and Reid Brignac joined the group to announce that they were about to receive a very special surprise outside. Castro and Brignac led the students onto the basketball court where there were 50 brand new bikes and helmets, compliments of Academy Sports and Outdoors, and all of the students’ parents waiting for them. As the announcement was made that this was a gift for them for doing well in school, the students fled to the bikes with their name on it.
After each child found their bike, our friends from Safe Kids Georgia and Safe Kids Cobb, led by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and WellStar, presented some bike safety tips and the importance of wearing a helmet. Local firefighters and Safe Kids volunteers spread out throughout the group to make sure the helmets were properly fit on each students’ head.
Argyle Elementary School is a Title I school, where the majority of the students are forced to walk to school and to other activities. Many of the teacher and parents expressed their gratitude for providing the bikes for the children.
We are so thankful for the generosity of our corporate partner, Academy Sports and Outdoors, and their willingness to participate in our community outreach efforts. We hope all of the kids have a safe and active summer!
Trip to Turner Field
On Thursday, May 12, the fifth graders at D.H. Stanton Elementary School celebrated their graduation with a special trip to Turner Field. The day began with several photo ops in Monument Grove. Next, the group explored Turner Field with a VIP ballpark tour. Several students shared that their favorite part of the tour was getting to go down onto the field, but they were careful not to touch the grass! After the tour, the students and staff members enjoyed lunch and created picture frames to remember this exciting celebration. Next, the students headed over to Scouts Alley. Everyone got the chance to step up to the plate in the batting cage and test their pitching speed at the Throwing Heat game. The students had an excellent day learning more about the Braves and the history at Turner Field!
Center for Civil and Human Rights
On Thursday, May 19, members of the Atlanta Braves Front Office accompanied the fifth graders from D.H. Stanton Elementary School to the Center for Civil and Human Rights. When students arrived at the Center, the students were divided into small groups and explored the different exhibits with their Braves chaperones. The Braves volunteers helped the students to understand what they were reading and shared personal experiences relevant to the museum. Most of the group participated in the moving Lunch Counter Simulator where they gained a more realistic understanding of the Civil Rights era.
At the end of the trip, students shared that they learned about Ruby Bridges, Emmett Till, and the Freedom Riders. The field trip to the Center for Civil and Human Rights was a rewarding and educational experience for all attendees – students and Braves staff members!
Art Contest Participants Win Pizza Party with Homer
During the week of April 25, more than 80 kindergarten, first, and second graders at D.H. Stanton Elementary participated in an art contest with the Atlanta Braves. The goal of the contest was to encourage creativity and reinforce their self-portrait curriculum with a Braves twist. The students were asked to include themselves, their friends or family members, and Braves or baseball-related imagery in their submission. Each student was given time to work on this project during their art class at school. Submissions were judged by a panel at the Braves Front Office and a winner in each grade was selected to receive tickets to a Braves game of their choice. Congratulations to Brad Blalock (K), Ashiya Gaines (1st), and Samir Bowman (2nd) for being selected as the winners in their grade!
In addition to individual winners, each class competed to win a pizza party with Homer! On Monday, May 23, Ms. Ellis’ 2nd-grade class was rewarded as the top overall class. Homer delivered the pizzas and tomahawks and posed for pictures. Following the pizza party, Homer passed out tomahawks to all participating classrooms.
Thank you to all D.H. Stanton students who participated in the art contest and congratulations to the winners!
Last Thursday, in honor of Armed Forces Month and as part of our monthly Braves Care front office staff volunteer initiative, we welcomed members of the Wounded Warrior Project, a veteran service organization for wounded veterans, to Turner Field for the 3rd Annual Wounded Warrior Classic.
The Warriors arrived at the ballpark around 10 am for a VIP all-access tour of the Braves Museum, ballpark, press box and the Braves Clubhouse. At the conclusion of their tour, the Warriors were joined by our front office staff for a “ballpark meal” in our patio space behind home plate.
Following lunch, we led them down to the field to take batting practice from home plate! They couldn’t hit live batting practice on a Major League Baseball field without bats and gloves, so at that point we let the warriors know that everyone was going home with some new baseball equipment compliments of Mizuno Baseball.
Once they took the field, Braves alumni Greg McMichael, Jim Nash, Johnny Estrada, and Alejandro Pena joined the group as batting practice coaches for the Warriors.
Just like the pros, each Warrior had the chance to take about 10 swings from the tortoise shell. When they weren’t hitting, they were fielding balls with Braves staff in the outfield and mingling with alumni players.
The Braves alumni gladly signed autographs and took photos with the Warriors, and at the end of their visit, our special guests gathered by the Braves dugout for a group photo.
We are so thankful for their service and were equally excited to host another wonderful event for them this year! Each warrior and their family will be in attendance to watch the Braves take on the Miami Marlins this Saturday, May 27th in honor of Memorial Day weekend.
On Mother’s Day we celebrated a very special Mom, Carol Thomas, the Atlanta Braves’ 2016 Honorary Bat Girl.
The Honorary Bat Girl contest is held annually by MLB to raise awareness about breast cancer. Fans across the country are encouraged to nominate people who are “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer”. The public is then able to vote on their favorite stories. This year, Freddie Freeman was on the judging panel assembled by MLB to choose the winner for each team.
Carol is a breast cancer survivor and was first diagnosed in 2013 and has beaten the disease twice. She is battling breast cancer for the third time and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Carol arrived for her VIP day at Turner Field along with six family members and close friends. Each member of the group received a VIP pass as a member of “Carol’s Fan Club”. The group was taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark before gates opened. Everyone posed for pictures in the Coca-Cola chairs in Sky Field, took selfies with Julio Teheran in the outfield, walked through the Club Level and explored the SunTrust Club. The tour ended with a group photo on the field.
Following the tour, Carol, her daughter Nikki, and her nephew Blake, were surprised in the Braves dugout by Nick Markakis, Fredi Gonzalez, Freddie and Chelsea Freeman, Jeff and Catie Francoeur, and Nancy Flowers. The groups presented her with a pink bat and ball, flowers and a special pink and white Braves jersey with MLB’s Honorary Bat Girl logo on the back.
After many autographs, hugs, and pictures, Carol and Nikki sat down with the Braves pre-game show host for an interview where Carol thanked MLB and the Braves for the opportunity to talk about breast cancer. She stressed the importance of self-exams and annual mammograms. Nikki spoke about how her mother was the rock of the family and said that Carol is the strongest and most positive person she knows.
The next stop for Carol and her fan club was the Plaza Stage where she was a special guest in the Heavy Hitters’ “Get Like Us” game. She faced off against a member of the Heavy Hitters in a drum battle to prove her rhythm. The rest of Carol’s day included getting autographs from Braves Alumni, a few appearances on the jumbo-tron, and of course the Braves vs. Diamondbacks game.
Read Mark Bowman’s article on Carol’s visit to Turner Field: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/176915272/braves-honorary-bat-girl-carol-thomas-thankful
For more information on the contest, visit www.honorarybatgirl.com.
In honor of Armed Forces Month, Braves alumni and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro joined our front office staff at the USO of Georgia on Friday, May 6th.
The USO of Georgia is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale, welfare and recreation services to military personnel and their families. They are open every day for soldiers who are passing through the airport to stop in and have a hot meal and a quiet place to regroup. Every Friday, the USO anticipates the arrival of a couple hundred brand new soldiers from Fort Benning in Columbus, GA headed to their next destination. These young men and women spend 14 weeks at basic training with little-to-no interaction with the outside world.
We spent our day preparing toiletry care packages for troops overseas, serving lunch to the soldiers that stopped by the USO facility for a little R&R, and welcoming new soldiers returning from basic training. Niekro enjoyed a Chick-fil-A sandwich with the troops while signing plenty of autographs and making tons of new friends. The USO even gifted Niekro with a special USO 75th Anniversary t-shirt!
What an amazing way to kick off our Armed Forces Month! Stay tuned for more exciting military appreciation activities this month.
Yesterday, the Braves Ticket Sales team visited the Atlanta Community Food Bank for their annual department-wide community service project. They helped sort and pack over 21,000 pounds of food which will provide over 16,000 meals to those in need throughout Braves Country.
This is just one of the many ways that our staff is committed to making a difference in our community. For more information about the Atlanta Community Food Bank, please visit http://www.acfb.org.
On April 25, the Atlanta Braves honored Maddie Malcom as a Braves Country Community Hero presented by Chick-fil-A. Maddie Malcom is a fifth grader at Murdock Elementary School in Marietta, GA. With a group of classmates, Maddie adopted the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research (Rally)’s “Go Gold” campaign and implemented “Go Gold” days at her school. The project began as a class assignment that ended in December, but Maddie felt it was important to continue to host the days once a month for the rest of the school year. Maddie sells “Go Gold” shirts to the students and staff at school and donates the proceeds from the shirt sales to for Rally.
Maddie was inspired to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer after spending time with the Setzer family. The Setzer family babysat Maddie occasionally and she became good friends with their son, Logan, a pediatric cancer survivor. Maddie’s grandfather also survived lymphoma twice. Maddie told us, “The lifelong effects are very bad, and I saw how much cancer affects people. When I looked at the big picture, I saw that cancer was a big deal. So I knew what I had to do…start raising money!”
Maddie was paired with a Rally Kid, Mary Tipton Carter, so that they could share this experience and support each other. Mary Tipton was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February 2015 and is now cancer free! Mary and Maddie both enjoy swimming, the Georgia Bulldogs, and roller skating. When Maddie hosted a swim-a-thon for Rally, Mary helped encourage the swimmers and planned games with Maddie to make swimming the laps even more fun. The swim-a-thon was a huge success and generated over $3,000.
Maddie invited Mary Tipton and her family to be part of her special day at Turner Field. Maddie and Mary Tipton watched batting practice from the field and collected autographs from some of the Braves players and coaches who stopped by to say hello. Following Maddie’s on-field presentation, she received a standing ovation and high fives from fans in the surrounding sections.
Maddie is the perfect reminder that you’re never too small to make a big impact!
For more information on Rally, visit https://www.rallyfoundation.org/.
Watch the video below to see how the Braves honored Maddie at Turner Field!
Continuing his childhood cancer outreach initiative, Kelly Johnson invited 12-year-old Braves fan, Evan Connelly of Acworth, GA, to Turner Field Saturday for a VIP visit to Braves batting practice. Evan was diagnosed this year with a type of blood cancer and after going through treatment, he is on the path to remission! Kelly met Evan and his family on the field before the team started their warm-ups with a Johnson jersey-tee and Braves swag bag in hand.Evan gifted Kelly with a “Team Evan” rubber bracelet that we noticed he wore throughout the game on Saturday!
Evan didn’t hesitate to change out of his personalized Connelly Braves jersey and into his new Johnson shirt. After taking a few photos, and even getting photo-bombed by Chipper Jones in a family photo, Kelly took Evan and his two younger brothers into the Braves clubhouse and batting cage for an exclusive look at the Braves’ pre-game routine.
After their clubhouse tour, Evan and his family watched batting practice from the field. Kelly made sure that all of his friends stopped by and introduced themselves to Evan. He even collected autographs from the team on a game ball given to him by Kelly. When we asked Evan what his favorite part of this life-changing experience was, his answer was perfect. “Meeting Kelly was the best.”
Kelly will continue inviting children affected by pediatric cancer out to the ballpark throughout the season as part of his ongoing Kelly’s Kids initiative.
On Tuesday, April 12, the Atlanta Braves provided breakfast for the teachers and staff at D.H. Stanton Elementary School. With Georgia Milestone testing beginning on April 13, the Braves wanted to show the staff how much the community values their hard work. D.H. Stanton employees have been preparing their students for these state exams all school year. The menu included Chick-fil-A chicken biscuits, fruit, orange juice and water bottles. In addition to the yummy food items, each attendant received stickers, tomahawks, and two tickets to attend Teacher Appreciation Night at Turner Field on Saturday, May 7.
For more information on Teacher Appreciation Night, please visit http://m.mlb.com/atl/tickets/info/teacher-appreciation-game.
Happy National Volunteer Week from the Atlanta Braves! We are committed to making a difference in Braves Country and encourage you to go out and volunteer in your community! Enjoy the below photos of some of your favorite Braves players of yesterday and today along with our Braves front office staff giving back. #BravesGive