Happy Mothers’ Day! Yes, Mothers’ Day was May 12th, but as you know the Marlins were on the West Coast, so we couldn’t properly celebrate. One week later the Miami Marlins and a few of our closest friends gathered to celebrate Mothers’ Day and one special mother in particular – 2013 Honorary Bat Girl, Ana Sanchez.
Each year Major League baseball hosts the Honorary Bat Girl contest which awards woman baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease. This year the Miami Marlins honored Ana Sanchez as one of only 30 women across the country who were awarded Honorary Bat Girl status!
Ana Sanchez was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Ana underwent Chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation. At that time, as a long-time supporter of the Susan G. Komen Walk for Cure, she teamed up with her daughter, Christine to form Team Ana-Licious. Over the past three years Team Ana-Licious has grown to about 80 members and they have raised nearly $12,000 in support of the cause.
Ana is more than grateful for Team Ana-Licious and her personal support group. In addition to her dedication to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Ana is passionate about early detection and commitment to treatment. Because of her passion, her doctors have asked her to come back as a mentor to patients currently going through chemotherapy. Ana’s support for the cause is endless. She even hopes to begin a campaign with her daughter to make gene testing affordable through insurance
At the risk of making Ana sound like a news story, I have to stop. Today, meeting Ana and her daughter Christine and spending the afternoon with them was the first time in my life that I made a true friend in just a few hours. I mean I laughed, cried, took pictures with them, and even played with their kids and grandkids. Today I witnessed true joy and positivity. My experience meeting these radiant women was just as meaningful and significant as their experience doing TV interviews, meeting Logan Morrison, and throwing out the first pitch at Marlins Park.
Even though this day was all about celebrating and honoring Ana, she could not stop talking about others. She raved about her daughter’s work in forming Team Ana-Licious and designing their beautiful, pink shirts, she praised her co-workers for their support and gifts, and she appreciated her family for coming out. Her selflessness, graciousness, and thankfulness embodied what we all admire about mothers and reinforced the reason why we celebrate them.
So from the bottom of our hearts here at the Miami Marlins, to Ana, to Christine, and to all of you, Happy [belated] Mothers’ Day!
To learn more about the Honorary Bat Girl Contest and MLB Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer, vist http://www.MLBCommunity.org/mothersday .
Happy Opening Week! Are you as excited as I am to be back to baseball? Or how about this one…Are you as excited as 441 elementary school students who got out of class to watch the Marlins play? That’s what happened on Monday as Marlins Ayudan celebrated Opening Day with Ben Sheppard Elementary School.
At Ben Sheppard Elementary, Opening Day had two meanings. Not only did the Miami Marlins open their season against the Nationals, but Ben Sheppard officially opened the “Marlins Corner” in their library! Thanks to a contribution from the Marlins Foundation, Ayudan teams “Sun Lifers” and “Restore Miami” were able to remake a corner of the library and fill it with brand new, baseball-related, hardcover books!
At the beginning of March students were sent home a letter stating if they earned perfect attendance for the month that they would be rewarded by the Miami Marlins. That did the trick – 441 students achieved perfect attendance in the month of March!
So on Monday afternoon, front office employees spent their time with 1st – 5th graders showing off the Marlins Corner, coloring Marlins M’s, handing out t-shirts and rulers, eating pizza, and watching the Marlins play . If you ask me, there’s no better way to kick off the 2013 baseball season!
How did you celebrate Opening Day?
One of the perks of the job here at the Miami Marlins is watching fans’, and especially children’s, faces light up week after week. When it comes to elementary-aged children, nothing gets them more excited than seeing our very own Billy The Marlin. Last month, a group of front office volunteers visited Ms. Harrison’s classroom at Pasadena Lakes Elementary School. We spent the afternoon reading with students while Billy The Marlin brought the stories to life! Making reading fun for our youth is a rewarding experience, and the sight of 20 small faces all lit up while Billy The Marlin animates a book is unforgettable. I’m sure it was unforgettable for the children too since Billy granted them No Homework!
Last year the Miami Marlins rolled out the Marlins Ayudan School Partnership Program. After going through an application process, eight local schools, elementary, middle, and high, were selected to be Marlins Partner Schools for two years. This month, the Miami Marlins presented each of these schools with a symbol of their continued promise to serve and support.
This month each school received their Marlins Ayudan Partner School flag. As a partner school, the eight schools have the commitment of the Miami Marlins that they will dedicate time, effort, and philanthropy to improving the school for the children, administrators, faculty, and parents. Each of the eight partner schools has a unique focus and individual goals to accomplish through the program, but what they are all guaranteed is the continued support of the Miami Marlins.
The program was rolled out during the fall of this school year, while this spring marks the first season of implementation. Each school, Ben Sheppard Elementary, Bent Tree Elementary, Bunche Park Elementary, Citrus Grove Elementary, Citrus Grove Middle, Miami Edison Middle, Miami Senior High, and TERRA Environmental Research Institute, will implement different programs. Some programs will focus on improving attendance, some on bettering literacy rates, others on raising staff morale, and others on a whole host of initiatives.
The flag presented to each school serves as a symbol of the relationship between the Marlins and the school. It is a physical reminder to everyone to look for the effects of the Marlins Ayudan School Partnership Program in our partner schools. Be sure to follow along on here so you can see the effects of the program too!
During my first week as an intern in Community Outreach with the Miami Marlins, I’ve already had the opportunity to experience some very exciting things. My first weekend on the job was a busy one, but the team managed to divide and conquer sending Marlins Ayudan representatives as far north as Delray Beach and as far south as Pinecrest – already I am impressed by the reach of the Marlins’ influence.
Part of the team went up to Delray Beach to show support for outfielder Logan Morrison’s LoMo Camp for a Cure which benefitted the American Lung Association.
The other part of the team, including myself, headed down to Suniland Park to cheer on some of our favorite All-stars in the Miracle League of Miami Dade’s first game of the year! The Miracle League is a nationwide program that came to Dade County one year ago. It is part of the Howard Palmetto Baseball and Softball Association and provides children with special needs the opportunity to play baseball.
On Saturday, I saw just exactly what kind of opportunity the special needs children were receiving. The Miracle League gave them the chance to do way more than just swing a bat. It showed them what it’s like to be a part of the community. Since it was the Howard Palmetto League’s opening day, there was a picnic and all sorts of other fun activities going on at Suniland Park, all of which the Miracle-Leaguers participated in. They were enjoying themselves, running around, playing with Billy The Marlin, and eating free ice cream just like all the other little-leaguers thanks to the Miracle League.
Seeing the special needs children enjoying their weekend was very impactful, and just as impactful was seeing the people and volunteers that came together to make it happen. The community rallied to provide this opportunity for the children. From the organizers with the Miracle League, to the FIU women’s softball team cheering each run in to home plate, to the baseball buddies that helped the children run the bases; it was a true group effort. It was an honor to be a part of that group effort.
After my first weekend with the Marlins Community Outreach team I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the year!