School is now in session and for the sixth consecutive year, the Marlins Foundation donated $20,000 to fund the Kiwanis of Little Havana Back to School distribution. This week long event is meant to excite and prepare students for the upcoming school year by providing school supplies to thousands of kids in our local neighborhoods.
At each distribution site, every student received a backpack containing pencils, notebooks, folders, safety scissors, a glue stick, crayons, a ruler, markers, composition books, and filler paper.
The schools who received these donations included Kensington Park Elementary, Lenora B. Smith Elementary, Citrus Grove Elementary, Comstock Elementary, Orchard Villa Elementary, Santa Clara Elementary, Auburndale Elementary, Melrose Elementary, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Members of the Marlins Front Office, or “Blue Shirts”, were on site to distribute supplies and welcome students back.
All smiles as South Florida begins another year of school.
Last month, the Marlins invited children from the Overtown Youth Center to explore all of the art that lives within the ballpark. Yes, you read correctly, Marlins Park is home to a plethora of art. The group was given an interactive packet – created by former Marlins charity partner, Young At Art – which included activities that made them use their imagination.
The tour, led by Guest Services Manager, Cristina Corpion, began with a stop at the famous Bobblehead Museum on the promenade. The kids ran up to the display and excitedly pointed out all the caricatures they could recognize. “Where did you get all of these?!” they proclaimed, “How cool their heads are actually moving!”
Not too far away from the Bobblehead Museum, the kids found the major inspiration piece for the color scheme of the park. The abstract Joan Miro piece, Figures Mountains Sky Star and Bird, found by the Home Plate Entrance certainly had them rubbing their chins in wonder.
Their interactive packet had them guess what each element might be. Cristina stressed, “There is no right or wrong answer! Use your imagination.” Community Outreach Manager, Adrian Mora (pictured above), was around to encourage the creative process.
The next stop on the interactive tour was Kenny Scharf’s, Playball! multi-media canvas. Before completing the I-Spy sheet, Cristina stopped to ask the group what things reminded them of baseball. Sure enough, that set the kids up for successfully exploring all the components of the enormous art piece.
And of course, the tour would not be complete without a visit to the team dugout. There, the group got an on-field view of the Red Grooms, Home Run Sculpture.
After all the use of imagination and critical thinking, the kids later got to see the batting cages and the clubhouse as a reward for doing so awesome on the interactive art tour. Needless to say, the kids left excited and eager to share what they learned. Who knew baseball and art could coexist so seamlessly!
In 2010, the Marlins launched their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, Marlins Ayudan. Ayudan (Spanish for “help”) engages every full-time front office employee in a volunteer corps willing and ready to effectuate positive change in the South Florida community.
In the six years since the program’s inception, Marlins Ayudan Blue Shirts have served over 41,000 hours and established partnerships and traditions of giving that inspire employees to pursue their passions and contribute their time and talents year-round.
Last week, the Marlins front office gathered to kick off the new Ayudan season and recognize the team and individual who dedicated more hours than any other this past year.
The 2016 Marlins Ayudan Team of the Year, The Voice – led by Executive Vice President of Operations & Events, Claude Delorme – collectively served 276 hours from June 2015 to June 2016.
Service projects included preparing lunch at the Miami VA Hospital’s Fisher House, meal serving at Miami Rescue Mission, mentoring special needs students at Citrus Grove Middle School, and leading the Adopt-O-Mania efforts at Marlins Park in conjunction with Miami-Dade County Animal Services.
Ryan Bertschman, 2016 Marlins Ayudan Blue Shirt of the Year, devoted 240.5 hours over the same time span.
Ryan, Director of Sales & Service, was a participant in Kickin’ It With the Fish, a unified kickball league for Marlins employees and military veterans in the VA Hospital’s Recreational Therapy program. Additionally, he served as a Big Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters School to Work Program, volunteered as a coach with the Weston AYSO, and frequently spoke to and advised high school students at the Marlins Ayudan Career Workshop Series.
The Voice was recognized by President David Samson and awarded $5,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.
Similarly, Ryan (pictured here with Adrian Mora, Manager of the front office volunteer program) was presented with a $2,500 charitable donation for his service to Marlins Ayudan.
Members of The Voice and Ryan Bertschman epitomize what it means to be a Marlins Ayudan Blue Shirt. Congratulations to all!
Through the Marlins Charity Partner gift, After-School All-Stars of South Florida, in partnership with FS Florida, launched the Jr. Broadcaster Program.
This program is a life-changing, career inspiring STEM & Performing Arts-based initiative that develops real-world skills for students as future broadcasters, radio announcers and production professionals.
On June 20, a group of seven students from Kinloch Park Middle School visited Marlins Park to work hand in hand with our broadcast team for an in-depth, behind the scenes experience at Marlins Park.
The bullpen phone rings. The heads of all seven Marlins relievers turn to the phone as bullpen coach Reid Cornelius picks up. After a few words, Cornelius hangs up the phone and says, “McGowan.” Dustin McGowan picks up his glove and begins getting loose.
As he heads to the rubber in the bullpen, the adrenaline begins flowing through his veins and his blood sugar rises. For most this isn’t a concern, but for Dustin monitoring his blood sugar levels is critical. Dustin was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 21 years old following elbow surgery while he was in the minors.
As McGowan begins to warm up, his blood sugar levels rise. If McGowan’s blood sugar levels get too high or too low it could pose problems. Luckily for McGowan, he is able to monitor his blood sugar and hasn’t had any issues during a game.
Dustin is not the only diabetic in his family. Dustin’s seven year-old daughter, McKensy, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes three years ago. However, through lifestyle adjustments and help from her parents, McKensy has also been able to monitor her diabetes.
On Tuesday, the McGowan family visited the Diabetes Research Institute on the University of Miami’s medical campus. Dustin spoke to a group of kids who also have Type 1 Diabetes. Dustin hopes to serve as a role model for kids with the condition. Dustin wants to show kids that having diabetes is a challenge rather than a handicap and that it is possible for them to achieve their dreams too in the same way he did.
As part of their ongoing efforts, Dustin and his wife Jilly will host six children with diabetes and their parents for this Friday’s game against the Cubs.
Additionally, the Marlins will host Diabetes Awareness Day on Sunday, July 24th against the Mets. The Marlins will donate $5 of each ticket sold through the special event package to the Diabetes Research Institute. Tickets available here.