Results tagged ‘ Atlanta Braves ’
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 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!
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.
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!
Braves Fans! Join us as we celebrate the final season at Turner Field, during FanFest on Saturday, January 30 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Fanfest is free and open to the public.
We will be collecting items for our “Spread the Warmth” winter clothing drive to benefit the Atlanta Mission. Fans are encouraged to donate new or gently used coats, boots, gloves, scarves, hats, blankets, socks, long sleeve shirts, long pants, sweaters, umbrellas or rain ponchos. Drop off bins will be located in Monument Grove under the Braves tent and at all entry points.
FanFest activities will include:
- Player appearances
- Autograph sessions with current players, alumni, and broadcasters*
- Photo stations with current players and alumni
- Panel discussions with current players, top prospects, alumni and front office executives
- Kids’ Reading Room with a book reading by a Braves player
- Kids-only press conference
- Tours of Turner Field offered every 15 minutes
- Yard Sale featuring Braves memorabilia
*Details for each autograph session and a map of locations will be distributed to fans upon entry.
Parking is free and will be available in the Green Lot across from the main gates at Turner Field.
Please visit www.Braves.com/fanfest for more information and subscribe to this blog for more updates throughout the season.
We hope to see you at Turner Field! Go Braves!
The Atlanta Braves Foundation operates as the nonprofit charitable arm of the Atlanta Braves and is committed to giving back to the community. Since 1994, the Braves Foundation has supported various Atlanta-based nonprofit organizations and has contributed more than $6 million in monetary and in-kind donations to the Braves Country community.
We are able to raise these funds through various fundraisers throughout the season such as the 50/50 Raffle, our annual Foundation Weekend memorabilia sale, in-game and special event silent auctions, online auctions, the Atlanta Braves Foundation Golf Tournament, and the Annual Leadoff Luncheon. Braves fans, players and sponsors play a huge role in helping us make a difference in our community by supporting all of these initiatives.
At the beginning of each Braves season, we invite non-profit organizations to apply for our annual grants program to receive funding to assist in their outreach efforts. The applicants must be youth-serving organizations that support education, recreation, and health initiatives. The process is very competitive, as there are so many great organizations in the area that are in desperate need of funding.
During the last week of the season and throughout the year, the Braves Foundation awarded more than $400,000 in grants to 48 deserving organizations. This funding will support initiatives including after-school programs, health and wellness initiatives, anti-bullying campaigns, athletic programs just to name a few. Listed below are our 2015 Atlanta Braves Foundation Grant Recipients.
- Alive Ministries – Will use funds to purchase food and toiletries for local children and families in need.
- Anti-Defamation League – Will support the “No Place for Hate” anti-bullying initiative in schools.
- Arthritis Foundation- Sustain and expand the Juvenile Arthritis programs and services.
- Atlanta Ronald McDonald House – Provide a comfortable “home away from home” for families traveling to Atlanta to receive medical attention for their children.
- Attachment & Trauma Network – Support an interactive Therapeutic Parenting Skills Building Weekend for parents of traumatized and attachment disordered children.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta – Will support initiatives for bigs and littles including college mentoring and healthy living workshops.
- Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta – Will integrate healthy living values into an edible landscape community garden at Anderson Boys and Girls Club.
- Brian Jordan Back to the Future Foundation – Hosts a free baseball clinic for more than 200 disadvantaged children.
- Bright Futures Atlanta – Integrate technology into the After School and Summer programs.
- Camp Kudzu – Will support the diabetes management overnight summer education program.
- Camp Sunshine – Will enrich the lives of Georgia’s children with cancer and their families through year-round support programs.
- Center for Pan Asian Community Services – Help disadvantaged Hispanic youth receive a high school diploma or GED and obtain meaningful work.
- Center for the Visually Impaired – Support programming specific to health and fitness education in the STARS After School Enrichment Program and STARS Summer Enrichment Camp for visually impaired students.
- Center for Working Families – Support the development of family enrichment and healthy relationship workshops.
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Will purchase 600 bike helmets to distribute during bike safety week.
- Christian Aid Mission Partnership – Will provide new shoes and backpacks filled with school supplies for disadvantaged youth.
- Cobb Alcohol Task Force – Facilitate a program in Marietta city schools focusing on social issues.
- Cobb Community Foundation – Provides diapers to families in need.
- Cobb County Public School Educational Foundation – Focuses on college readiness by providing tutoring for SAT and ACT exams.
- Cobb Health Future Foundation – Educates youth on media, physical activity and nutrition.
- Cool Girls, Inc. – Funds the Cool Fitness Program which supports the after school program, summer fitness initiative and Saturday field trips.
- CURE Childhood Cancer – Provides family meals at Aflac Cancer Center.
- East Lake Foundation – Fund educational materials for RISE after school program at Drew Charter School.
- Georgia Avenue Community Ministry – Will feed low-income families.
- Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation – Will fund programming which provides memorable vacations for families dealing with cancer.
- Just Us Girls – Increases educational support for girls including SAT and ACT prep and etiquette classes.
- E.A.D. – Supports the organization’s year-round baseball and life skills development program.
- La Amistad, Inc. – Provides flash cards and books for students to utilize during the school year and summer.
- Latin American Association – Will support the health and wellness component of the Latino Youth Leadership Academy.
- Lekotek of Georgia – Will provide children with limited mobility, access into the world of play using only eye movement.
- Lutheran Services of Georgia – Will support the week-long day camp experiences for refugee children impacted by trauma.
- Marietta Police Athletic League – Will fund the PAL EXCEL program designed to tackle the problems of childhood obesity and access to sports and recreation for low income families.
- Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School Athletic Boosters – will provide an indoor retractable batting cage system, a baseball L-screen, and batting tees for baseball and softball athletes.
- MUST Ministries – Will provide toys and essential winter items and school supplies during the holiday season for youth and families in Cobb and Cherokee counties.
- Piedmont Healthcare – Will support a low income family nutrition education program.
- Rally Foundation – the Family Emergency Fund will offers financial relief to families that have a child actively undergoing cancer treatment.
- Reach Out and Read – Children’s books will be provided in pediatric waiting rooms to encourage literacy.
- Reconnecting Families – will supply furniture, clothing, camps for children, and other basic household needs for disadvantaged families.
- Ser Familia – will fund the Strengthening Families program which focuses on parenting skills, children`s life skills and family skills.
- Special Olympics Georgia – Will help offset costs for youth to attend the Special Olympic Georgia State games.
- The Center for Children and Young Adults – Will provide dining tables and chairs for a youth shelter.
- The US Fund for UNICEF – will support the UNICEF Kid Power by engaging kids in the U.S. to help kids around the world by getting active and ultimately providing food for malnourished children.
- Tomorrow’s Champions – will provide opportunities for girls and to learn the fundamentals of softball and life skills.
- True Colors Theatre Company- will provide free in-school theatre arts workshops for high school students.
- Villages at Carver YMCA – Will use funds to support the youth baseball initiatives at the Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Academy.
- YWCA of NW Georgia – funds will support summer programming for the children in YWCA’s domestic violence shelter and transitional housing.
- Youth Empowering Through Leading, Learning, and Serving – the grant will cover the YELLS Community Action Cafe, Afterschool Program, and Summer Programs for youth.
- YWCA of Greater Atlanta – the funds will provide new materials for the Early Learning Academy.
As you can see, these organizations offer wonderful programs that will benefit a lot deserving young Braves fans. We are proud to be a part of making an impact in the lives of so many people. Congratulations to all of our 2015 Braves Foundation Grantees!
In September, we hosted a special group of teens from the small town of San Bernardo del Viento in Colombia, South America. The youth were part of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sports Diplomacy initiative hosted by the Colombia Consulate of Atlanta and the Atlanta Braves.
The sports exchange program focuses on towns with a high rate of children recruited by illegal armed groups. The youth live in a town that has been affected for many years by the Colombian conflict. The sports diplomacy initiatives’ goal is to get children and adolescent to think of sports, culture, and arts as a life possibility and an opportunity to build a better future. This was the very first time these boys have ever left their small town and none of them spoke any English.
Upon arrival at Turner Field, The teens were treated to a behind the scenes tour. This was the 1st time for these boys in a Major League ballpark and they were in awe at each corner of the facility. For some, it was their first time stepping on an escalator and they seemed perplexed at the moving stairs. After their tour, the teens met with Braves players Pedro Ciriaco from the Dominican Republic, Christian Bethancourt from Panama, and Sugar Ray Marimon from Colombia. The players talked about their experiences living in the U.S., their youth baseball development, and they shared words of encouragement. After the meet and greet, the Colombian team enjoyed a traditional Atlanta meal… Chick-fil-A sandwiches, courtesy of the Braves 400 Club. With huge smiles on their faces, the youth proudly walked through Turner Field displaying their Colombian flags as they got ready to cheer on the Braves!
The following day, the Colombian youth participated in a friendly baseball game with FCA Urban Baseball lead by Brent Slate. Brent went above and beyond for the Colombian team. He arranged for both the US and Colombian national anthems to be played and well as lineup introductions. At the end of the game both teams exchanged gifts representative of their counties. Although, these two teams were unable to communicate verbally with each other, baseball brought them together. They cheered for one another, signed baseballs, hugged each other, and posed for group pictures.
On their final day in Atlanta, the Colombian team participated in the Braves and MLB’s Youth Baseball Clinic with more than 100 other youth baseball players. They learned fielding, pitching and hitting skills from Braves alumni including Alejandro Pena, Jose Alvarez, Marty Perez, Charlie Leibrandt, Dwight Smith, and Pete Smith. The alumni signed baseballs and took pictures with everyone and our friends from Delta Air Lines served as volunteers and interpreters for our Colombian guests.
Later that day, Braves starting pitcher and Colombian native, Julio Teheran, surprised the team before batting practice. The kids had been waiting to meet Julio all week! He answered all of their questions including his favorite American food, how he was able to adjust to the U.S., what he missed most about home and what advice he would give his 16 year old self. Julio signed autographs for the youth and posed for pictures. The teens stayed to watch batting practice and meet other Braves players then headed to their seats to catch their final Braves game before heading back to Colombia the next day.
Special thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia and the Consulate of Colombia in Atlanta for their partnership and for allowing us to host this special group of kids. We certainly hope this will be a lasting memory for our new friends and we look forward to seeing them again one day!
In August, the Braves Wives hosted the “Favorite Things” auction, which is an annual event where the wives fill baskets full of their husbands’ favorite things to raise money for a charity of their choosing. The wives optioned to have all proceeds from their auction benefit Childhood Cancer research this year, raising more than $3,500.
In honor of September being Childhood Cancer Awareness month, we celebrated the lives and legacies of pediatric cancer survivors and fighters during Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. On September 13, we welcomed more than 200 children affected by pediatric cancer to Turner Field for a very special pre-game program. All proceeds from this event along with the money raised at the Wives auction benefited four nonprofits that raise awareness for pediatric cancer research, Rally Foundation, Camp Sunshine, CURE, and Curing Kids Cancer.
Participants started arriving early that Sunday morning to the ballpark to check-in and receive their tickets, commemorative “Going Gold” t-shirt and unique neon “Chop out Cancer” sunglasses. Once checked-in, all survivors/fighters along with their family and friends entered the gates and made their way to the Childhood Cancer Fighter/Survivor Celebration reception. More than 500 guests enjoyed complimentary snacks and refreshments and the opportunity to fellowship with one another. Children also got their faces painted compliments of the Braves and free Go-Go Squeeze Organic Applesauce.
At the reception, participants heard encouraging words from guest of honor and two-time Childhood Cancer Survivor, Taylor Scheibe. Taylor is a motivational speaker and entrepreneur from Jacksonville, FL. Her charity, With Love, donates toys to local hospitals and play rooms for children going through cancer treatment. After Taylor spoke, we recognized four extremely brave individuals on behalf of each organization who have survived cancer and been a light to the cancer community simultaneously. These honorees were deemed the “Diamond of Courage” award recipients and were presented their awards by Braves wives, Joanna Swisher, Jamie Lavarnway, and Gabby Perez. The following children were honored:
Madie Ice was selected on behalf of the Rally Foundation for her contagious smile and positive attitude during chemotherapy. CURE chose Grace Bunke as their award recipient because of her perseverance and positivity moving forward after having a leg amputation from cancer. Montana Brown was selected on behalf of Camp Sunshine for beating cancer twice at a young age and going on to study nursing at Georgia Regents College in hopes of being a pediatric nurse. Our only boy representative came from Curing Kids Cancer. Reece McPhail was chosen by his organization for his willingness to help others during his cancer treatments and for being an advocate for childhood cancer research through drives and fundraisers.
Once the audience gave our award recipients another round of applause, the reception came to a close and families and friends started lining up for the on-field parade. As the survivors and their families paraded around the field, many groups held and released gold balloons in honor of those lost in the pediatric cancer battle. Once the parade was over and game time was drawing closer, Braves Wives, Gabby Perez, Joanna Swisher, Chelsea Freeman, and Jamie Lavarnway joined the four Diamond of Courage award recipients and their nonprofit organization leaders on the third baseline for a special on-field ceremony and check presentation. Combined efforts by the Braves wives and fan donations, the Atlanta Braves Foundation was able to cut a check for $5,000 to Childhood Cancer research.
To round out the day’s festivities, nine children were selected to “take the field” with the starting lineup that day. The crowd gave a standing ovation to the kiddos as they ran out to the positions and waited for their favorite major league player to join them at their position. The following kids were chosen by their organization to participate in this activity: Mary Tipton Carter, Drew Kruszynski, and Audrey Arrowood on behalf of Rally, Elijah Ligon and Connor Meadows on behalf of CURE, Colton Moore and Josh Mack on behalf of Curing Kids Cancer, and Emmalee Watkins and Matthew McMahon on behalf of Camp Sunshine. Childhood cancer survivor, MaKayla Jefferson yelled “Play Ball!” on the field indicating it was time for some Braves baseball!
This is the start of something really beautiful for Childhood Cancer Awareness in the sports industry! We look forward to making this event bigger and better every year until we find a cure. We want to say a HUGE thank you to our beneficiary organizations who worked hard to help make this event go off without a hitch and another big thank you to our Braves Wives who raised so much money for such a wonderful cause!
This season, the Atlanta Braves partnered with the Miracle League to give players and their families the opportunity to not only attend a Braves home game, but also to experience batting practice on the field. These “Miracle League Monday” visits took place prior to every Monday home Braves game.
The Miracle League serves children and adults who suffer from any physical or mental disabilities, by removing the barriers that keep them off the baseball field, and letting them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime.
One Miracle League family was selected to participate each Monday. The families were greeted by Braves personnel and received baseball-themed goody bags. The families were then escorted down to the field to watch batting practice up close. They received numerous autographs and took photos with many of the players and coaches, and in some instances the players even gave them their batting gloves and bats!
Following batting practice, the families were escorted to their seats to watch their favorite team in action. The families had a blast, and we loved having the opportunity to host them. We are already looking forward to hosting them again next season!
To kick off Armed Forces Month, we dedicated our Braves Care front office volunteer event to our friends in the military by serving lunch at the USO of Georgia and by collecting items for troops returning home from overseas.
On Friday, May 1, we started our day off at the USO of Georgia facility at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport preparing for the arrival of new soldiers returning home from basic training. 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 Atlanta airport to stop in and have a hot meal and a quiet place to regroup. Every Friday, the USO anticipates the arrival of a few 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 were so excited when the first bus arrived that Friday morning from basic training, as we waited for them with “Welcome Home” signs. It was evident that they had not had access to electronics or the simplest things like caffeine as they rushed off the buses and straight to the newsstands in the airport to grab a soda and snacks. As we caught up with them, we directed them upstairs to the USO facility where Braves front office staff and Braves alumni, Johnny Estrada, were serving sandwiches for lunch. Johnny was happy to sign autographs for all of the service men and women and visit with them while they readjusted to civilian life.
As the facility filled up with young gentlemen in their dress blues, we unleashed another surprise on them… Braves player Jonny Gomes would also be joining them for lunch. Gomes accompanied by his wife Kristi, who happens to be a from military family, signed autographs and took photos. Many of the soldiers gathered in the USO conference room with Gomes and Estrada for a Q&A. The Gomes’ even delivered the cutest thank you cards for the soldiers that their kids made at home!
This was one of the most fun and rewarding Braves Care events, as we got to talk to and serve so many truly courageous young men.
In celebration of Armed Forces Month, that weekend we collected items outside of the ballpark for the USO to use at their facility. Fans brought everything from paper products and utensils to fruit snacks and granola bars. The USO uses all of these items to serve soldiers when they stop in on their journey either back home from deployment or to their next post from basic training.
We have the pleasure of partnering with the USO on different occasions throughout the year through our military outreach efforts, and we always enjoy working with them. For more information about how you can get involved in the USO’s outreach efforts, visit www.usogeorgia.org.