In January 2013, over 150 South Florida non-profit organizations applied to the Marlins Empowerment Fund, the Marlins Foundation grant program. From the Empowerment Fund application process, the Marlins were honored to announce four non-profits as our 2013 Charity Partners. On top of their $25,000 gift, during the season each Charity Partner enjoyed a day at the ballpark dedicated to raising awareness about their cause and the opportunity for Marlins Ayudan to create but for experiences for our MASPP schools and their organizations youth through player visits and field trips. It was an exciting year filled with lots of wonderful memories on and off the field. Thank you to the 2013 Marlins Charity Partners for joining us in our efforts to better our South Florida community through education, the arts and baseball.
Mission: Breakthrough Miami is an eight-year, tuition-free academic enrichment program that provides motivated middle-school students from underserved communities with the tools they need to achieve their most ambitious goals in life.
Empowerment Fund funded program: The Marlins partnership supported a six week long Summer Institute elective course, titled “Life Lessons through Baseball”. 52 Breakthrough children participated in the “Life Lessons through Baseball” course where they learned to use the elements of baseball to reinforce the major topics covered during the Summer Institute.
Miami Children’s Museum
Mission: Miami Children’s Museum (MCM) is dedicated to enriching the lives of all children by fostering a love of learning and enabling children to realize their highest potential.
Empowerment Fund funded program: Through the Marlins partnership, MCM dedicated one Saturday a month to host Sensory Saturday for families with children that have special needs. Each Sensory Saturday boasted multisensory interactive exhibits, adjusted to a sensory friendly environment with modified lighting, sound adjustments and “cool down” rooms available for children.
Miracle League of Miami Dade
Mission: To create positive life experiences for children with special needs and their families through baseball.
Empowerment Fund funded program: Since the opening of Marlins Park in 2012, the Marlins have partnered with the Miracle League of Miami Dade in raising funds to build a special rubber turfed field for children of all disabilities to be able to play and enjoy the game of baseball safely. Once completed, over 68,000 disabled children throughout Miami-Dade County will benefit from this new site.
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Mission: To provide vision rehabilitation and eye health services that promote independence, to collaborate with and education professionals, and to conduct research in relation fields.
Empowerment Fund funded program: Through the Marlins partnership, Miami Lighthouse provided free eye examinations and glasses to underserved children in South Florida. Eligible children received vouchers to see their community optometrist free of charge or a mobile eye care clinic would visit select schools in Miami Dade and Broward Counties. With the Marlins’ partnership, this program is projected to reach 7,500 children from low-income households throughout South Florida.
Every year on April 15, MLB and all 30 ball clubs recognize the legacy of Jackie Robinson. 42 is the only number that is retired throughout all of baseball, but on Jackie Robinson Day every player has the honor of wearing Jackie’s number. The Marlins saluted Jackie Robinson’s heroism and legacy with Marlins General Manager Michael Hill and MLB Hall of Famer Andre Dawson presenting a check for $4,200 to the Jackie Robinson Scholarship Fund, accepted by specials guest Norman Berman, bat boy of the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, along with Carol Guerrero and Kyle Rhoden, Jackie Robinson Scholarship Alumni. Carl and Norman both threw out the ceremonial first pitch to start the game. Impactful interviews were played during the inning breaks with Marlins players and a few RBI kids, highlighting what it means to wear 42 and how Jackie Robinson journey still has an impact on their lives today.
On Friday, April 12th “42”, the life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, premiered in movie theatres nationwide. The Thursday before the biopic debuted, Warner Brothers held a private screening at Cobb Theatre in Dolphin Mall, where they extended a special invitation to the Miami Marlins. Marlins Catcher Kyle Skipworth and Marlins Infielders Chris Valaika were joined by Marlins charity organizations the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project and RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program, to enjoy the moving film. Before the movie, Marlins General Manager Mike Hill presented the Marlins annual contribution of $4,200 to the Jackie Robinson Scholarship Foundation, represented by scholarship alumnus Carol Guerrero. Joining Hill for the check presentation was Norman Berman, ball boy for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, along Miami Dade County School Board Members Dr. Wilbert Holloway and Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall.
On Sunday, April 14th the Marlins hosted a night at the movies, following the Phillies vs. Marlins home game. Marlins employees, joined by Ayudan Partner School children from Miami High School and the RBI Program, gathered at Muvico Theatres in Hialeah to view “42”. Special guest, MLB Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, grabbed some M&M’s to enjoy the biographical sports drama with the kids.
On Tuesday, April 13 the Marlins partnered with the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project to welcome five 5000 Role Models mentees for the Annual Take a Role Model Apprentice to Work Day. All of the high school senior mentees shared the day on the job with various Role Model Mentors while they performed their daily professional responsibilities, with the goal of exposing the Mentees to potential career opportunities. The Mentees enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of Marlins Park before sitting down with the Marlins in house Role Model Mentors, Derek Jackson, VP and General Council, and Mike Hill, Marlins General Manager. After a thrilling morning learning about the front office aspects of a professional baseball team, they all enjoyed lunch where they exchanged riveting stories about their lives at Harvard and shared much needed advice with the Mentees.
For more information about the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, please visit http://www.5000rolemodels.dadeschools.net.
Yesterday, Jeff Urgelles, Marlins Bullpen Catcher, hosted the second class of Compression for Life Program at the Boys & Girls Club of Miami Dade. With the help of the American Heart Association and Miami Dade College, over 100 kids were taught CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) compression techniques. To the tune of the song “Stayin Alive” by the Bee Gees the kids compressed the chests of test dummies. They also were taught how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Later, the kids engaged in physical activity to really get their hearts in motion, playing various games on the basketball court. As we ended the day’s session you could hear the kids singing the lyrics to their new favorite song, “Ah, ha, ha, ha, Stayin’ alive. Stayin’ alive”, as they head home for the evening. Next week, Jeff will present certificates to all the kids for participating in Compression for Life at the Celebration Party.