Results tagged ‘ Braves Give ’
Each winter we set out to get fans across Braves Country excited about the 2014 Braves season. In January the Braves Country Caravan presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors embarked on a 10 day journey traveling to various communities across the southeast as we logged thousands of miles on the road in a luxury tour bus.
The Caravan is a unique experience for fans and members of the community to get close to Atlanta Braves players, coaches, alumni and broadcasters. In addition to stopping at various Academy Sports + Outdoors locations to sign autographs, the journey consisted several community outreach appearances at schools, hospitals, animal shelters, and food banks to make a positive impact in the community.
Here’s an exciting overview of our two-week Caravan journey.
RIDGEVIEW CHARTER MIDDLE SCHOOL – SANDY SPRINGS, GA
The 2014 Braves Country Caravan kicked off its’ first community stop at Ridgeview Charter Middle School on Tuesday, January 21. Atlanta Braves players Evan Gattis, Alex Wood, Anthony Varvaro, and Assisting Hitting Coach, Scott Fletcher utilized their high profile platform to speak out against bullying.
We partnered with the Anti-Defamation League to host a “No Place for Hate” anti-bullying rally with 350 middle school students. Our players and coaches shared their thoughts on the importance of accepting one another and finding common interests with their classmates. They also answered questions from the students on teamwork, peer pressure, and goal setting.
The rally concluded with the Braves players and coaches signing a “Resolution of Respect” pledge in which they pledged to do their part to combat prejudice, hate or ignorance and make our community a safer place. The Braves players are planning to film an anti-bullying PSA at Spring Training in Orlando to help spread the message among schools across the southeast.
SHRINERS HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN - GREENVILLE, SC
The 2nd Day of Braves Country Caravan started in Greenville, South Carolina at Shriner’s Hospital for Children on Wednesday, January 22. More than 75 lucky Braves fans received a visit from “El Oso Blanco” –Evan Gatis, Braves rookie David Hale, and Homer the Mascot as they went room to room to surprise and greet young Braves fans, take pictures, sign autographs and distribute Braves t-shirts and Tomhawks. The trio not only put smiles on the faces of a lot kids that day, but on the parents, nurses and doctors too!
REDAN HIGH SCHOOL – STONE MOUNTAIN, GA
The Braves Country Caravan stayed local on Day 3 as we rolled into Redan High School located in Stone Mountain, Georgia on Thursday, January 23. During the stop, B.J. Upton, Tyler Pastornicky, Brandon Beachy and Pitching Coach, Roger McDowell held an assembly for 150 males and female student-athletes who had an opportunity to ask questions about their high school experiences and what steps guided them to the big leagues.
After the Q& A session, the players lead a game of Braves Trivia for a chance to win autographed items. The visit concluded with a special presentation to Redan’s players and coaches. Redan High School’s Baseball team was the first African-American baseball team to win the 2013 Class 4A State Championship title in state of Georgia. Braves centerfielder, B.J. Upton, presented a bat autographed by members of the 2013 Atlanta Braves team along with Braves gift bags and tickets to a 2014 Braves game for each player and coach. Congratulations Redan Raiders. We’ll be following you this season!
BRUMBY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – MARIETTA, GA
Friday, January 24, the Braves Country Caravan stopped at Brumby Elementary School in Marietta. We surprised the students and took over the school’s morning newscast. Braves players Chris Johnson, Tyler Pastornicky, Todd Cunningham, and 1st base coach Terry Pendleton answered questions, reported the lunch menu, the weather forecast, and read a few letters that students had written to the team when they learned that we were moving to Cobb County. The Players and coaches visited the classrooms, played Braves trivia and answered questions about playing in the big leagues. They closed out the visit in the auditorium with the entire fifth grade class as they took the stage with Brumby math teachers to explain how math and baseball work together. They talked about the importance of knowing ERA’s and batting averages and used addition, multiplication, division to solve baseball related math problems. We’re sure this Caravan stop will be etched in these students’ memories for many years to come!
PAWS ATLANTA – DECATUR, GA
Week two of the caravan started off with a different type of visit as we showed a little love to our furry friends over at PAWS Atlanta, a no-kill rescue center. These local animals got extra special attention on Sunday morning, January 26. Braves players Aaron Northcraft, Christian Bethancourt, and Gus Schlosser walked dogs on the on-site walking trails as Braves staff members helped clean up the dog park area, which has been a work in progress for the shelter. We got the chance to learn about the adoption center and met tons of animals looking for a family. PAWS takes pride in their 45 year history which has led 40,000 animals into adopted loving homes. If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of homeless animals by adopting, donating money or volunteering your time, visit paws.atlanta.org to find out more!
ATLANTA COMMUNITY FOOD BANK – ATLANTA, GA
Braves Alumni Brian Jordan and Marquis Grissom, General Manager Frank Wren, Broadcaster Don Sutton, and front office staff helped pack over 4,000 pounds of food at the Atlanta Community Food Bank on Monday January 27. Tasks included sorting cans, packing boxes of food, restocking the grocery area and loading boxes of food into cars for local nonprofits and families who benefit from the food bank. The Atlanta Community Food Bank distributes about 45 million pounds of food each year to 600 different nonprofit organizations, which serve underprivileged families across the state of Georgia. The food items sorted and packed by the Braves staff will feed about 3,000 hungry people. This effort is just one of many volunteer opportunities that ACFB offers year-round. If you have time to volunteer, visit http://www.acfb.org. We’re sure you’ll enjoy the experience!
CLARKDALE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – AUSTELL, GA
On Tuesday, January 28, 4th and 5th grade students at Clarkdale Elementary School in Austell, GA received a special visit during their morning P.E. classes. Braves players Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Manager Fredi Gonzalez and Coach Carlos Tosca joined the kids at various physical activity stations including sit-ups, push-ups, crab kicks, burpees, and pull-ups in an effort to encourage students to be active. Each group moved from station to station after 2 minutes of activity. After the fitness stations were completed, Braves broadcaster Don Sutton moderated a fitness themed Q&A session. The students asked the players and coaches questions about their favorite healthy snacks and their secrets is to staying in shape during the off season. Much to everyone’s surprise, Don Sutton led the Clarkdale students in singing “Happy Birthday” to Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez and two Clarkdale students, who all shared the January 28 birthday.
After 10 days traveling across Braves Country, it is easy to see why the Atlanta Braves have the best fans in all of baseball. The Braves Caravan was truly a unique experience for all that had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of it.
That wraps up Caravan 2014!
The Braves Foundation teamed up with our 2013 Grant recipient, The Cross Keys Foundation, to celebrate the unveiling of the Briarwood Park “Little Free Library” on January 16.
We were joined by various media outlets as well as representatives from area schools, the Brookhaven Police department, City of Brookhaven elected officials and lots of neighborhood kids and families.
The “Little Free Library” establishes a highly visible monument to the importance of literacy and early reading and neighborhood parks. The Briarwood Park “Little Free Library” is the first of many libraries to come and will stand as testimony of the community’s commitment to education. Most importantly, the children will be reminded of this fact every time they visit the playground.
The children will have the opportunity to take a book and bring it back, or simply keep them. Cross Keys Foundation partners including the Briarwood Park Conservancy and Brookhaven Storage have committed to host book drives in an effort to keep the libraries stocked with books. Community volunteers will see to it that the “Little Free Library” is stocked on a continual basis. Everyone in attendance was encouraged to add a book to the library.
The goal of the project is to promote excitement about reading among elementary age children and much to our delight, the children couldn’t get to the books fast enough as they immediately begin to takes the book and start reading!
Every holiday season, the Atlanta Braves host special holiday activities to enhance the lives of others. In the Spirit of Giving, we adopted senior citizens for our Angel Tree program and we also hosted our annual “Braves Bowl,” a holiday bowling party for military families.
We know that the holidays can be difficult for those who do not have anyone to share them with. We wanted to do something different and decided to help our senior citizens who are sometimes forgotten around the holidays.
We partnered with Second Wind Dreams, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the perception of aging. Second Wind Dreams offers education on dementia, grants wishes for seniors, and educates the general population on issues related to the elderly. Braves employees adopted 50 senior citizens residing at Decatur Senior Living and College Park Healthcare. These seniors, ranging in ages from age 60 to 95 were gifted with items from their wish lists including sweatsuits, alarm clocks, robes, socks, hats, gloves and candy. As you can see, these seniors didn’t ask for much, so it was the least we could do put smiles on their faces just in time for Christmas!
We continued to spread holiday cheer for 40 military families at our annual Braves “Braves Bowl” Holiday Party at Midtown Bowl. This is the third year that we have held this event to honor and thank the soldiers and their families for their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country.
Parents and children from the United Military Care Inc., Wounded Warrior Project, and the Georgia National Guard were greeted by Homer the Mascot, and received a warm welcome from Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez. Braves Alumni Marty Perez and Johnny Estrada along with and Gwinnett Braves Manager Brian Snitker also came out to bowl with the families, sign autographs and take pictures. To round out the day, three lucky soldiers got the opportunity to bowl against Estrada, Perez and Gonzalez for bragging rights and Braves prize packs.
Many thanks to the Braves front office staff, our alumni players, coaches, the Braves 400 Club volunteers, Midtown Bowl and Second Wind Dreams for making this holiday seasons’ activities a huge success!
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!
On Wednesday February 27th, members of the Braves family joined C.J. Stewart, former outfielder in the Chicago Cubs organization, as he welcomed 16 students at Parks Middle School to be a part of the 2013 L.E.A.D. program. L.E.A.D. stands for Launch, Expose, Advise, and Direct.
This is a program that C.J. and his board of directors, including his wife Kelli, started in 2007 to help students from inner city neighborhoods become better baseball players and better citizens in their community.
L.E.A.D. works with students from middle school to high school and since 2007, 100% of the students in the program have graduated from high school with 90% of them receiving baseball scholarships. This year, L.E.A.D. welcomed their first female member of the team at Parks Middle School with hopes of producing the first college softball scholarship from their program.
Last Wednesday was “Signing Day” at Parks Middle School. Students that were selected for the team received a hat and jersey and signed a contract to be a part of this program. This contract entailed their requirements of stellar academic and civic performance along with hard work in between the foul poles.
The Braves are proud to support the efforts of L.E.A.D. as they look to make this their best year ever!
We have a great deal of exciting events and programs planned for this season, and can’t wait to provide our fans with a behind-the-scenes look at the Braves Foundation and our work in the community! Keep an eye out this month for tales from the 2013 Braves Country Caravan Community Stops including visits to the Clay National Guard Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and more!
We will also have a monthly update on our Braves Care program. For those of you new to the Braves Give Blog, Braves Care program is an employee volunteer initiative that allows us to support both our community and our charitable partners. It allows our staff to get out in the community and make a difference.