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
On Saturday, April 9, the Atlanta Braves hosted sixteen youth baseball and softball teams in the Jackie Robinson Baseball Invitational presented by Delta Air Lines. The free one-day tournament was held at the Braves Baseball Academy at the Villages of Carver Family YMCA. The tournament was a celebration of Jackie Robinson’s legacy and a tribute to the deep and long-lasting impact that he has had on the game of baseball.
The participants ranged from ages 5 to 12 and the tournament featured teams from across the Metro Atlanta including the towns of Sharpsburg, Hampton, Stone Mountain, Marietta, and Jonesboro. The tournament was an opportunity for friends and family members to enjoy a beautiful day of baseball and fun!
During the Welcome Ceremony, the players were given the opportunity to hear from Atlanta Braves Third Base Coach, Bo Porter, on the importance of celebrating Jackie Robinson and the meaning of Robinson’s legacy. Coach Porter, alongside Homer, posed with all of the players and coaches for team pictures. Delta Air Line representative, Lasandra Boykin, said a few words on behalf of Delta and threw out the first pitch.
All players were asked to participate in the “Tribute to 42” Art, Essay and Poetry Contest to express the nine characteristics that Robinson embodied throughout his life: courage, teamwork, integrity, justice, excellence, determination, persistence, citizenship, and commitment. Athletes from the 6U and 8U divisions competed in a traditional Pitch, Hit, and Run, baseball skills challenge including the Golden Arm, Home Run Derby, and Fleet Feet contests. The winners of the “Tribute to 42” Contest and the skills competition were honored on field before Saturday night’s game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Additionally, one boy and one girl, nominated by their coaches from the 12U divisions received the Delta Positive Athlete award.
Winners are as listed:
Homerun Derby Champions:
Zavier Blankenship – 6U – Duluth Wildcats
Croix Philip – 8U – Step Up To The Plate All-Stars
Fleet Feet Base Running Champions:
Myles Thomas – 6U – Camp Creek Bombers
D.J. McMillan – 8U – Panhandle Marlins
Golden Arm Pitch Champions:
Brian Grant – 6U – Camp Creek Bombers
Jayden Smith – 8U – Redan Red Sox
“Tribute to 42” Art, Essay & Poetry Contest Winners:
Brian Grant – 6U – Camp Creek Bombers
AJ Cater – 8U – Step Up To The Plate All-Stars
Zaria Smith – 12U Softball – Milford Shockwave
Tyjere Lane – 12U Baseball – Panhandle Braves
Delta Positive Athlete Georgia Award Recipients:
Jasmine Alwan – 12U Softball – Milford Shockwave
Julian Wright – 12U Baseball – Step Up To The Plate All-Stars
6U – Camp Creek Bombers
8U – Redan Red Sox
12U Softball – Sharpsburg Attitude
12U Baseball – Shiloh Adams
Congratulations to all winners, individuals and teams, and thank you for helping the Atlanta Braves honor Jackie Robinson’s legacy!
On Wednesday, April 6th, we hosted our final Leadoff Luncheon at Turner Field in the 755 Club. This exclusive event acts as one of the many fundraisers for the Atlanta Braves Foundation and allows fans and sponsors a chance to have lunch with a Braves player or coach from the Opening Day roster.
Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz welcomed everyone to the event, and Braves broadcasters Chip Caray, Joe Simpson, Jim Powell, and Don Sutton all facilitated round table discussions between the Braves newbies and veterans. New to the Braves, Tyler Flowers, Gordon Beckham, and Ender Inciarte sat on the Braves “Newbies” round table while Braves veteran players such as Freddie Freeman, Jason Grilli, Kelly Johnson and Jeff Franceour talked about their role in the clubhouse with the younger prospects on the Braves Veterans round table. This portion of the program gave all participants an inside look on what to expect out of their team this season. Participants also got to hear from Braves President of Baseball Operations John Hart and Manager Fredi Gonzalez.
The luncheon included a silent auction for participants to place bids on unique Atlanta Braves autographed memorabilia.
Overall, this was a very successful fundraiser for the Braves Foundation and a great way to kick off the 2016 Braves baseball season!
Kelly Johnson invited 12-year-old Braves fan Josh Mack of Marietta, GA to Turner Field Saturday for a VIP look at Braves batting practice as part of his Kelly’s Kids pediatric cancer outreach initiative. Josh was diagnosed with leukemia at a young age and after aggressive treatment, he is now 3 years cancer-free! Kelly met Josh on the field during warm-ups and gave him a special Braves t-shirt with Kelly’s name and number stitched on the back and a Braves swag bag. After introducing Josh to all of his big league friends, Kelly even took him into the Braves clubhouse for an exclusive look! Josh came out with a brand new Braves hat and Snickers bar.
What an amazing experience for a much-deserving young man! Kelly will be inviting children affected by pediatric cancer out to the ballpark throughout the season as part of this ongoing Kelly’s Kids initiative. Thank you, Kelly!!
On Opening Day, the Atlanta Braves honored Philip Ross as a 2016 Braves Country Community Hero presented by Chick-fil-A. Philip is the Founder and Executive Director of Bright Futures Atlanta (BFA), which is a year-round program that includes an academy, after-school program, and a summer camp. BFA was created in 2002 to promote spiritual, academic and physical development for youth and their families in the Bankhead Highway area of West Atlanta. The program is open to middle and high school students and all three aspects are mandatory. The goal of BFA is for the students to emerge as self-sufficient and personally accountable with positive career direction and the tools necessary for lifelong achievement.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Philip Ross’ work is his personal devotion to the students and their success. Philip and his wife, Gail, built the after school facility – the Bright Futures House – on the same property as their family home. The Bright Futures House features a game room, a full kitchen, a computer lab, a beach volleyball court and a basketball hoop. Gail, with the help of staff members and volunteers, provides snacks and/or dinner for the students three nights per week. BFA students also receive breakfast and lunch every morning at the Academy.
Philip shared that his favorite element of BFA is summer camp because that is where the real “family” bonds are established. Summer camp kicks off every year with a trip to Panama City Beach for a week. Back in Atlanta, the camp consists of regular camp activities such as recreation, arts, and field trips to exciting events around the city. At the end of the summer, the leaders take the students to Southwest Virginia to spend eight nights at a community church center. In Southwest Virginia, the youth have the opportunity to participate in activities that they would otherwise never be exposed to such as tubing down the New River, hiking up to the Cascade falls, and going to a dairy farm.
The Atlanta Braves are thrilled to honor Philip and highlight the work that he, his wife, and his staff members are doing to help the underserved youth in Braves Country. Please help us in congratulating Philip Ross on being chosen as a 2016 Braves Country Community Hero presented by Chick-fil-a.
Since 2002, BFA has grown tremendously, almost doubling in size over the past three years, which is a testament to the positive impact that the program is having on the community. Currently, BFA is undergoing renovation to double their current student capacity. BFA needs community help with fundraising and resources to keep up with their rapidly growing student population. BFA relies heavily on volunteer resources and is currently looking for dependable, consistent volunteers. The needs range from after school tutors to community members who can provide services that are typically available to large businesses such as digital marketing or bookkeeping.
Watch the video below to see how the Braves honored Philip at Turner Field!
For more information on the organization and how you can help, please visit http://www.bfatl.org/. Supporters can also text “give” to 678-582-8005 to donate.
This school year, we partnered with Everybody Wins! Atlanta, a nonprofit on a mission to improve children’s literacy and develop the reading skills of students in low-income elementary schools. We joined their “Power Lunch” mentoring program at Brumby Elementary School, where we go into the school once a week to read to a child during their lunch hour. Braves staff has had a great time building long-lasting relationships with their mentees, and look forward to watching them build their reading skills throughout the year!
Over the past few weeks, the Community Affairs Department has been attending the Opening Day festivities of youth baseball and softball leagues around Metro Atlanta to promote Play Ball! Atlanta.
Play Ball! Atlanta is designed to increase participation in the game of baseball and softball (and related activities) through various grassroots initiatives and show the Braves’ commitment to the community through special appearances at youth league baseball and softball games.
Braves mascot, Homer, has been on site to lead parades, pose for pictures and energize the players. The Braves B.A.T. Team, provides pitching and batting inflatables and Braves-themed giveaways. At Sharpsburg Youth Baseball, Braves alumni, Johnny Estrada, threw out the ceremonial first pitch!
At each Play Ball! Atlanta Community Stop, we host a drive for gently used baseball and softball equipment in partnership with Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF). BTF is a Major League Baseball initiative that supports the growth of youth baseball and softball in communities that need additional support. They provide grants for better playing fields, equipment and uniforms. Every person who donates is entered into a drawing for a chance to win Braves autographed memorabilia.
Thank you to our league hosts – Murphey Candler Little League, Kennesaw Baseball Association, North Gwinnett Baseball/Softball Association, Druid Hills Youth Sports, Sharpsburg Youth Baseball – and to all community members who have donated to the Baseball Tomorrow Fund equipment drive!