Miami Elementary Schools Get the Visit of a Lifetime from the Marlins: Part 1

Monday, May 18th was the start of Think Tank Week, a week when Miami Marlins players and coaches visit winning classrooms of the Marlins Think Tank Week Sweepstakes.

Think Tank is open to all teachers and classrooms, grades 4-6, in South Florida. To enter the contest, classrooms had to complete and submit a Marlins Think Tank lesson to the Miami Marlins. Lessons are available in the following curriculum: writing, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and health and fitness.


I had the privilege of visiting Kensington Park Elementary with Giancarlo Stanton and AJ Ramos on Tuesday and Citrus Grove Elementary with Bryan Morris on Wednesday. Both elementary schools are MASPP (Marlins Ayudan School Partnership Program) schools.

I arrived early to Kensington Park Elementary on Tuesday morning to make sure the classrooms were set up and that teachers and students were prepared. When I opened the door to Ms. Colunga’s classroom, I could hear squeals of excitement and gasps of anticipation. False alarm everyone, it’s just me! Classrooms didn’t know which players were coming to visit them. They only knew that the players would be there for 45 minutes: 15 minutes for a student presentation, 15 minutes for question (Q) and answer (A), and 15 minutes for an autograph signing.


Stanton and Ramos arrived early. When they entered the classroom, Ms. Colunga and Ms. Veiga’s students welcomed them with cheers and applause. The student presentation started quickly after. Stanton and Ramos received a lesson in math- addition and subtraction of multi-digit whole numbers. Students demonstrated what they learned on a white board as the players watched tentatively.

The best part was the Q&A. The players headed to the front of the classroom to address the group. Stanton grabbed the teacher’s bar stool and Ramos was left with a student chair. As Ramos sat down, the class erupted into laughter. Stanton towered over Ramos, which he also found quite humorous. This time was playful, and it gave the students a chance to get to know the players on a personal level.


Ichiro Suzuki also visited Kensington Park Elementary. He was in Ms. Reinoso’s class with the Marlins community outreach senior director, Angela Smith.




To access lessons and to view official rules for Marlins Think Tank, visit


Marlins Fan Donates The Gift That Will Keep On Giving

The following is a Guest Blog Post from Amber Schaeffer, Loyalty Program Intern for the Marlins.

Long-time Marlins fan, Rainer Perez, knows the value of a thoughtful gift. Rainer has been coming to Marlins games alongside his family and grandfather, Eduardo Fuentes, for as long as he can remember.

Eduardo Fuentes was a die-hard Fish fan. His love for baseball went all the way back to when he played baseball in Cuba with Marlins Spanish Broadcaster, Felo Ramirez.


Going to Marlins games became a little more difficult as Fuentes got older and needed a wheelchair to get around. As with most baseball stadiums, guests are offered wheelchair access to get to and from their seats, but the wheelchairs must be returned before leaving the stadium. This can create a challenge to get to and from parking lots. Even so, Fuentes still came to games like the awesome fan that he was.


Noticing the issue at hand, Rainier decided to give his grandfather the ultimate gift. He got a wheelchair for his grandfather and tricked it out – Marlins style. Customization and painting are in Rainier’s wheelhouse, so he saw this as an opportunity to show off his creativity and allow his grandfather to express his Marlins pride.


After the recent loss of his grandfather, Rainer decided he would love to donate the wheelchair to the team that gave him and his grandfather so many great memories. What was his wish for use of the wheelchair? He wanted the Marlins to use it to escort guests to their seats so that the memory of his grandfather lives on. Talk about an awesome fan!


Introducing The 2015 Marlins Charity Partners

The following is a Guest Blog Post from Renee Foster, Intern for the Marlins Foundation:

On April 10th, 2015, the Marlins Foundation introduced the 2015 Marlins Charity Partners. The four organizations selected were each awarded a $25,000 gift and were honored during a pregame ceremony.


The Charity Partner Empowerment Fund allows the Marlins Foundation to invest in innovative organizations that are impacting the South Florida community in a very positive way. In addition to a $25,000 donation from the Marlins Foundation, our charity partners are entitled to other benefits such as:

  • Select Charity Partner Days at Marlins Park that includes media coverage and in-game promotional/fundraising opportunities.
  • A partnership with Marlins Ayudan (Spanish for “help”), our Front Office community service program that responds to a variety of community needs and is now widely known as a corporate leader in volunteerism.
  • Complimentary Ballpark Buddies tickets for local, underprivileged youth groups
  • Access to Billy The Marlin, the Marlins Energy Team and more!

There are four words that describe this year’s beneficiaries of the Marlins
Foundation Charity Partner Empowerment Fund: Big, Special, InclUsive, and Artistic.

The Miami Marlins and the Marlins Foundation are proud to continue their partnership with Young At Art Museum and Special Olympics Florida – Miami-Dade for the second year in row. This year, they are joined by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami and Up2Us Sports.  These non-profit organizations will support the Marlins civic engagement efforts and Corporate Social Responsibility projects in order to make a deep and focused impact on our South Florida youth through education, the arts, and baseball with a special focus on children with special-needs.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami’s mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentor relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. BBBS will be launching a pilot Sports Buddies Program, serving middle and high school students in need of a positive role model. On April 24th, the Miami Marlins will honor the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami partnership by hosting their exclusive Charity Partner Day at Marlins Park. It will also be Mardi Gras Night at the ballpark which will add a vibrant flair to a special night for BBBS.

b2b2Special Olympics Florida – Miami-Dade has a mission to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for persons eight years of age and older with Intellectual Disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, talents and friendship with their families, other athletes and the community. For the second consecutive year, the Marlins will serve as the official sponsor of Special Olympics Softball in Miami. The partnership will provide a higher threshold of opportunity for training, competition, personal growth and community engagement for the athletes in the program. The Miami Marlins will celebrate the Special Olympics Charity Partner Day on May 1st, and what better theme than Superheroes Night to complement such a joyous occasion?

b2b3Young At Art Museum is passionate about providing inspiring and interactive experiences in which art is central to shaping young minds and enriching our community. YAA will develop an Artist Residency Program for students and teachers at Marlins Ayudan Partner Schools. The Artist Residency Program will integrate art and literacy through the student’s excitement for baseball. Young At Art’s Charity Partner Day will be hosted at Marlins Park on June 26th while the ballpark will be themed for Nickelodeon Night.

b2b4Up2Us Sports is a national nonprofit organization that is focused on the power of coaches to transform the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable youth, and the communities they live in, through sports. The Marlins will partner with Up2Us Sports to conduct a training program for coaches who will receive a Certification in Sports Based Youth Development (SBYD).  SBYD coaches understand the importance of leveraging the sports setting to achieve positive outcomes around physical, mental, social and emotional skills. The Marlins will salute the organization’s initiatives and accomplishments on July 31st during their Charity Partner Day. It will also be Wrestling Night at the ballpark on that date.

b2b5“Marlins Charity Partners are a signature example of our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and reflect our values-driven mission of philanthropy and service,” said Marlins President David Samson. “These impactful organizations do great work in the community, and we are honored to support their efforts in South Florida.” The Charity Partner Empowerment Fund is a signature program of the Marlins Foundation and it has helped the Marlins elevate their corporate social responsibility initiatives to new heights and supported the Marlins Foundation continued mission of philanthropy and service. This year’s partners are sure to help the Marlins reach even further BEYOND THE BALLPARK!




The Power of Mentorship

Ever wonder what Marlins staff is up to when the team is on the road? Well, the Marlins Ayudan School Partnership Program keeps them all pretty busy.

Yesterday morning, Blue Shirts led a Marlins Ayudan Mentorship Program session for students in Ms. Jordan’s class at Citrus Grove Middle School. Students and Blue Shirts discussed topics based on Jackie Robinson’s Nine Values: Teamwork, Persistence, Integrity, Citizenship, Justice, Commitment, Excellence, Determination and Courage. This session dove into the value of Courage, primarily the courage it takes to know oneself, to get to know others in the peer group, and to be confident in who they are as people.


Meanwhile, Blue Shirts were leading a Career Workshop Series at Marlins Park. This session, titled the “Senior Seminar,” was the fourth of six sessions to take place this semester. First, students from Booker T. Washington, Miami Senior High School, and S.L.A.M. heard presentations given by Marlins employees from our sales, information technology and human resources departments.

The second half of the session was a resume workshop. Students brought  their resumes to be critiqued by Blue Shirts. They were given examples of good and bad resumes and a helpful list of buzzwords to spruce up their own. Students who had the best resume from each table presented it in front of the group and shared what they had learned.



Later that afternoon, Blue Shirts led weekly literacy tutoring sessions and read to students at both Lenora B. Smith Elementary and Citrus Grove Elementary Schools.


In all, Blue Shirts were represented at five of seven MASPP schools. For many, yesterday was just another typical Thursday — but for the Blue Shirts, it was an exciting and impactful day that touched many students lives.

Marlins Ayudan Puts the “Pep” in Pep Rally

The school house was rocking Thursday afternoon at Citrus Grove Elementary!

Students were expecting a pep rally, but what they got was a full on party, Miami Marlins style! Billy the Marlin, The Street Team and Marlins Ayudan team Pulse were there to get the students excited about taking their standardized state tests, and also to relieve some of the stress that comes with testing.


Shrill screams of delight could be heard all the way from the parking lot as Billy made his way to the back of the school where the pep rally was being held. At Citrus Grove Elementary, Marlins staff are treated like celebrities. Once students see our blue shirts, they cheer and yell out, “Marlins! The Marlins are here!” They ask for autographs, still, even after we explain we’re not players. Yesterday was no exception! They love to have us there, and we love to be there!

DJ Daz and The Street Team were already hard at work playing songs, holding dance competitions and handing out t-shirts, magnet schedules, candy and more at the prize wheel.


Team Pulse was put on snack duty. A table was set up at the front entrance of the pavilion where the pep rally was being held. Pulse handed out chips, lollipops, and ice pops to each student as they arrived to the dance party.


Classes came in waves by grade. First was Pre-K, first, and third, then came forth, second and fifth. The students had a blast! They even out-danced Billy! One of the students exclaimed, “This is the best day ever,” while the rest shouted out “Yeah” in approval!


Citrus Grove Elementary is one of seven schools selected for the Marlins Ayudan School Partnership Program (MASPP). Having the Marlins host a pep rally is one of the many benefits that come with membership to the program. Citrus Grove’s pep rally was definitely an unforgettable experience!

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