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.
As a 2013 Official Charity Partner, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired held their day at Marlins Park on August 3rd. Before the game, Marlins President David Samson, and Marlins executives PJ Loyello and Alfredo Mesa presented them with a $25,000 check before the game. Accepting on behalf of Miami Lighthouse was President and C.E.O. Virginia Jacko, Chairman of the Board, Agustin Arellano, Jr., and former Board Chair, Ray Casas. The Marlins Foundation also hosted a silent auction and 50/50 Raffle, with all of the proceeds going to the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind seeks to provide vision rehabilitation and eye health services that promote independence, to educate professionals, and to conduct research in related fields. We are proud to have them as a 2013 Charity Partner!
Enjoy reading about all the Marlins do in the community? Then come support our official 2013 Charity Partner days at Marlins Park! On each of their days, our Charity Partner will receive an on-field check for $25,000 dollars from the Marlins Foundation. While at the ballpark don’t forget to grab your 50/50 Raffle ticket to help raise money for their causes, and potentially win some yourself! See the dates below:
Sunday, July 14th Marlins v. Nationals
Saturday, Aug. 3 Marlins v. Indians
Sunday, Aug 25 Marlins v. Rockies.
Saturday, Sept. 28 Marlins v. Tigers.
To read more on any of these charities visit their websites linked above. To come out to Marlins Park to support them head over to www.marlins.com/specialevents and get your tickets there. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Charity Partner of that day.
In the meantime, check out Breakthrough Miami’s spirit check at Camp Day!
“I WON THE RBI SCHOLARSHIP!!!”
That was the text message I received last Friday to kick off the weekend.
Immediately I was overcome with excitement as if it were I who had been awarded the scholarship, telling anyone who would listen how another one of our RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) players had been awarded Major League Baseball’s “RBI for RBI” Scholarship. Megan Diaz, a senior at Miami Senior High School and a third year RBI participant, became the sixth player in the past five years to be awarded this prestigious $20,000 national scholarship presented to notable members nationwide of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.
In her senior year, Megan served as captain for her high school softball team while excelling in the classroom, maintaining a 5.24 GPA and completing multiple advanced placement classes. Following the RBI season, Megan will be taking her talents up to Gainesville, FL, to attend the University of Florida, where she will study to become a pediatrician. Megan also has aspirations of walking on to the Gators’ softball team.
Personally, receiving the news about Megan was a thrill for me because I had the privilege of serving as her RBI coach for the Miami High School team (my alma mater) during the regular season, and then again on the All-Star team. Last summer Megan made the All-Star team and despite not having played in any of the first three games, she kept a positive attitude, supporting her teammates and staying prepared to contribute when the opportunity presented itself.
In the final game of the tournament, Megan entered as a late game defensive replacement in a tie game in right field. As the softball gods should have it, in the bottom of the 7th inning with two outs and a runner on second, the opposing team smoked a base hit to right field and with the winning run rounding third base, Megan fielded and came up firing. Players came spilling out of the dugout, but not because the game had ended, but because the runner was called out on Megan’s game-saving rocket throw! The game would eventually end in a tie, but it was the program’s first non-loss since 2009, and I could not have been more proud.
Megan shared with me that this was her most memorable moment playing RBI and when asked about it said, “I felt awesome as I ran into the dugout and saw my coach with a smile from ear to ear. I will never forget that moment!”
I hope she also knows that it was one of my most memorable moments not just as a coach, but also since becoming a member of the Miami Marlins.
For more information on the “RBI for RBI” Scholarship visit http://www.mlb.com/rbi
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.