Results tagged ‘ Community Outreach ’

Blue Shirts Assist on Global Youth Service Day

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Saturday, April 16th marked the 28th annual Global Youth Service Day, the world’s largest service event and the only one dedicated to celebrating the contributions made by the youngest members of our society.

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Marlins Ayudan partnered with HandsOn Miami and their Youth Advisory Council to conduct a series of beautification projects at Ludlam Trail, a 6.2-mile linear park through the heart of Miami-Dade County.

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Over 200 volunteers came together to paint over a 600-foot, graffiti-covered wall as well as remove two dumpsters worth of illegally discarded trash and debris.

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These projects were implemented in conjunction with Friends of Ludlam Trail and Green Mobility Network in the continued effort to transform the stretch of partially abandoned Florida East Coast railway into a safe, fully walkable pedestrian trail.

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Additionally, HandsOn Miami’s Youth Advisory Council developed and led several “pop up” projects, including painting and assembling skateboards to be donated to children of military personnel in recognition of April being Military Child Appreciation Month, and making dog toys to be donated to local animal shelters.

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It was unbelievably inspiring to witness individuals of all different ages and abilities come together to make a concrete impact in our community. Finding service opportunities that not only permit, but encourage youth participants to mobilize and be real agents of change is a rarity, and it was truly empowering to be a part of such an event.

A Decade In The Making

Content contributed by Randy Rodriguez, Head Baseball Coach at Miami Carol City High School.

Coach Randy Rodriguez may not be a household name in the South Florida high school baseball scene. His team, the Carol City Chiefs,  is not a perennial state championship contender. The program is also not a pipeline to major Division I college programs. Their home games are not littered with scouts holding radar guns and clipboards. In fact, at Miami Carol City High School there isn’t even a baseball field to host practices or home games.

James Falmer and Ayeo Randolph of Miami Carol City High School.

James Falmer and Ayeo Randolph of Miami Carol City High School.

In 2015, what the Carol City Chiefs baseball team did have was two returning players for the spring season: Ayeo Randolph and James Falmer. Although Ayeo, a 5’5″ 140lb outfielder, had finished the 2014 season hitless, he was committed to reinventing his swing and pursuing his dream of playing college baseball. While Ayeo’s mother, an All-Conference MEAC softball player at Florida A&M University, was the first person to teach him the game, the baton was soon passed to Coach Randy to help Ayeo take his game to the next level. By the end of last spring, Ayeo’s game had improved immensely and he motivated his teammates to join him in participating in the Marlins Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities (RBI) summer program and work towards building something special in Miami Gardens. They were able to field a team led by Coach Randy and while the team finished the RBI Season 0-10, they never wavered in their commitment to show up to every game, play hard, and focus on getting better every inning of every game.

James Falmer was one of those players who was motivated to continue playing over the summer. Falmer may not have had the opportunity to participate in the Marlins RBI program had it not been for Ayeo’s persistence. Despite being a junior at Carol City, 2015  was James’ first year playing baseball and he started the spring season on the JV Team. He would ride his bike to school, practice at an offsite baseball training facility in Miami Gardens, and then travel back home on a daily basis. James’ swing quickly developed, leading to an early promotion to the Varsity Team where he would finish the season as the team’s batting champion, hitting .294. In addition to the on-field success, James spent late nights at the baseball facility completing his homework where he was able to access the Internet. Despite these obstacles, James dreams of one day earning his degree in sports administration and working for a professional sports franchise.

Ayeo Randolph representing Marlins RBI.

Ayeo Randolph representing Marlins RBI.

On January 30, 2016, Ayeobele “Ayeo” Randolph and James Falmer will sign letters of intent to play baseball at Morris College, becoming the first Carol City High School baseball players to do so in 10 years. Congratulations to Ayeo, James and Coach Randy!

10 Times This Year Dee Gordon Made A Difference

Great baseball player. But better man.

You know Dee Gordon as “The Flash.” He steals bases regularly, gets a hit seemingly every night, and never fails to cap off a big win with the perfect dunk. What you might not have seen as much, though, is the other side of Dee… off the field.

His contributions to the community this year have been tremendous — and they haven’t gone unnoticed. Dee was the Marlins nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, going to a player in each league who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”

Scroll down to see just 10 of the many times this year Dee made a difference:


10 – Marlins Ayudan Week
During Ayudan Week in February, Dee spent a day visiting little leaguers at Miami Carol City Park, where he shared baseball tips and gave advice to the young aspiring athletes.

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9 – Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities
Dee also teamed up with former Marlin Cliff Floyd to coach a Marlins RBI baseball game during Ayudan Week. We’re not sure who had a better time: Dee and Cliff or the kids.

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8 – Parkinson’s
Back in April, Dee joined forces with Blechman Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to promote awareness and raise money. Dee’s goal? Stealing as many bases as he could that month. All funds raised during the “stolen base challenge” — called Dee-Feat Parkinson’s Disease — went directly towards Parkinson’s research. You can read more about Dee’s efforts here.

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7 – Military Appreciation
In honor of Military Appreciation Day in May, Dee and his teammates spent the afternoon with veterans at the Honda Classic. Based on their smiles, it’s obvious the day was one to remember.

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6 – More RBI
In May, Marlins RBI athletes participated in a youth baseball clinic with the second baseman, where they learned hitting and fielding techniques. Getting advice from a batting champion and potential Gold Glover? Priceless.

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5 – Math Wiz
Dee visited students at Lenora B. Smith Elementary School in June, where he even helped teach a math class!

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4 – Friendly at Second Base
During select games, young Fish fans are given the opportunity to be a “Grounds Crew for a Day.” Each time, without fail, Dee took it upon himself to greet the children who came his way, giving them a “high-five” and — if they were lucky — their very own baseball.

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3 – Good Dude
After an elderly fan was left started by a foul ball off his bat last month, Dee went above and beyond to remedy the situation. He ran over to the 93-year-old as soon as the inning ended and spoke with her to ensure she was okay. Shortly thereafter, Dee returned — this time with the gift of a bat and baseball. You can read more about about the touching moment here.

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2 – Day made.
Just a few days later, another ball hit off Dee’s bat nearly struck a young fan. Without hesitation, Dee collected one of his bats, signed it — with an apology! — and gave it to the boy. Day made.

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1 – Flash of Hope
Dee’s “Flash of Hope” is a program designed to help children who have lost a parent from domestic violence. Once per month during the season, Dee is paired with a child who lost a parent. He gives them the VIP treatment, taking them inside the clubhouse, introducing them to his teammates, and even spending time together on the field during batting practice. Next year, Dee hopes to expand the program even further.

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With all of that said, it’s a no-brainer Dee Gordon has made an incredible difference in the community this year.


UPDATE: How could we forget about the day Dee took a young Fish fan suffering from leukemia under his wing? Watch the unforgettable day unfold here:


 

Marlins Ayudan in August: Week One Recap

Last week was a busy one for the community outreach department of the Miami Marlins. Summer was a welcome break from our Marlins Ayudan School Partnership Program. It allowed us to complete multiple Ayudan service projects every week of the summer, but with the start of school right around the corner, it was time for us to begin planning for the 2015-2016 school year.

Adrian Mora, Marlins Ayudan Manager, Sarah Orndorff, Community Outreach and Educational Initiatives Coordinator and I, Community Outreach Intern, met with five of our seven partner schools to discuss proposals for the coming year. We have a lot of great events planned for our partners, the first being “Welcome Back” breakfasts for staff members sponsored by correlating Marlins Ayudan teams. Other benefits include the continuation of our signature MASPP programs (CWS, mentoring, and reading literacy), vision and dental screenings, student volunteer action teams and more!

Marlins Ayudan also stayed busy last week with two events: Marlins G.P.S. Summer BBQ at Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services and Ana’s Heroes Lunch Preparation at Fisher House. Miami Bridge is a new partner of Marlins Ayudan. Friday was the first time an Ayudan team has visited the shelter. Miami Bridge is a 24-hour emergency shelter for abused, neglected, and abandoned youth. The organization’s mission is to rescue and empower those in need.

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Marlins G.P.S. team members hung out with and got to know youth at the shelter. They played pool, video games and board games. Scattergories was a crowd favorite! I think at least 20 rounds must have been played! For lunch, everyone enjoyed burgers, hot dogs, popcorn chicken, chips, fruits and vegetables. Cupcakes and a cake with “Marlins Ayudan <3’s Miami Bridge” were served for dessert. Everyone from the shelter was so happy and invited us to come back again soon.

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Ana’s Heroes prepared an Italian feast for the guests of Fisher House. Veterans’ families enjoyed a pasta bar with homemade sauces, salad, garlic bread and ice cream for dessert. Guests lined up, waiting patiently to serve themselves hot, fresh food. When Marlins Ayudan first began to visit Fisher House for meal preparations, they used to see one, maybe two guests if they were lucky. Marlins Ayudan visits Fisher House from 10:00am-12:30pm, which is during the same time families visit their loved ones at the VA next door. Since our Fisher House visits have become more regular, every Friday, the guests start crowding the dining area before the food is even set out! It is a great experience for all. Team members get to bond with and learn about one another and guests get a delicious home cooked meal. Fisher House visits are filled all the way through September. Check back in to see what Marlins Ayudan team The Blue Angels has on this week’s menu!

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Blue Shirts Learn The Ins and Outs of Disaster Preparedness

Are you prepared for a disaster?

On May 27th, Marlins Ayudan Blue Shirts received a one-on-one lesson in disaster preparedness from Misty Lupinacci, an AmeriCorps volunteer and emergency management support specialist from HandsOn Broward.123

Misty gave a total of eight 20-minute presentations at Marlins Park to all staff. She began her presentation explaining the most common disastrous situations for Floridians. Those include fire, floods, and hurricanes. I learned that floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S. and that electricity can be carried through water, so when officials say stay out of the water, listen!

I also learned that it takes less than two minutes to get out of your house in the case of a fire and that the number one cause of household fires is overloaded electrical sockets. Misty also warned us not to keep cleaning products under our kitchen sinks because most fires start in the kitchen and those chemicals are extremely flammable. I went home that same day and moved all of my cleaning products from the kitchen to the laundry room!

Last was hurricane preparedness. Hurricane season is from June 1st through November 30th. The last hurricane to hit Florida was Wilma in 2005. A lot has changed in ten years, including new residents to the area. Some people who live in Florida now may have never experienced a hurricane. For those who have, it doesn’t hurt to know the facts, make a plan, and prepare a kit.

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Misty explains, “It’s important to be prepared because first responders will not always be able to help you immediately after a disaster. Preparation reduces the risk of death, injury, and property damage during a disaster. Every $1 spent on preparation saves $4 in recovery.”

One important thing to remember when preparing your property for a hurricane is to go tapeless; don’t tape windows because it causes glass to break in large shards, which causes more damage. Invest in shutters. Trim trees and bushes that have dead or already broken branches.

The next important step is to make a communication plan. Misty asks, “How will you get in touch with each other if you’re separated and your phones don’t work? What if your neighborhood is being evacuated?” The solution is to create a list of numbers including work, parents’ cell, neighbors, schools and one out-of-town contact. The out-of-town contact serves as the middle man in case separated family members have service at different times.  Choose a meeting spot outside your neighborhood, like a library or shelter, where your family can reconnect if separated, and role-play what you would do during a disaster.

Last, but not least, is preparing a kit. Having a kit could be the difference between life and death. Essential items to have in your kit include:

  • Non-perishable food
  • First aid kit
  • Water (2 gallons of water per person, per day)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Prescriptions
  • Manual can opener
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Baby supplies
  • Pet Supplies

Misty’s presentation was 20 minutes well spent. I didn’t have a kit or a plan before she came to Marlins Park. I feel better prepared now that I have the facts.

HandsOn Broward/Miami has a Disaster Response Team and a Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) to help the community in times of disaster. To learn about how to get involved visit, HandsOnBroward.org.