“The House That Built Me”
I had an amazing blog entry written today, but I just erased it all. Why? Because I tried to get too wordy and too “deep” and that just caused the blog to seem fake. It might have won me a Pulitzer, but it didn’t fit my normal writing mood. I know if my mood changes, then my fans and followers would get upset and I would be stuck writing a blog that no one ever looks at anymore. I did keep the title of my blog entry the same, just so you can see how poetic I was probably going to get had I kept the original text. To be honest, I have no story or historic event in my life that could even relate to our recent Indians in the Community event held at Providence House. To try to create one just for point of reference would simply be an injustice to what the great people at Providence House stand for.
And with that…
The Cleveland Indians continued their April Indians in the Community program by volunteering at Providence House in Cleveland. Providence House is an organization that fights to end child abuse and neglect by protecting at-risk families, empowering families in crisis and building safe communities for every child. Located in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, Providence House serves kids ranging from infants to 10 years old. Their hope is that children everywhere are raised in safe, loving families free from abuse and neglect. Since the creation of Providence House 31 years ago, they have become more than an emergency shelter for children; including case management and supportive services for both the children and their families.
The Indians front office volunteers included staff from varioius departments as well as Meryl Masterson (wife of Indians pitcher Justin Masterson), Jenna Gomes and her husband Yan Gomes (Indians catcher). We started off our morning touring the facility. From there, we were split into two groups. One group assembled intake bags, which are kitted items that each child receives upon arrival at Providence House and takes home when he or she leaves (toothbrush, 5+sets of clothes, shoes, etc.). The other group was able to play with the kids who are staying at Providence House on their new playground at the newly remodeled and expanded House.
The volunteer event took place just days after Indians 1B Nick Swisher and his wife Joanna generously donated $75,000 to Providence House during the pre-game ceremonies of Opening Day. The Swishers, known for their charitable efforts and contributions, have clearly brought their philanthropic ways here to Cleveland with them and for that, we thank them.
If you’d like to learn more about Providence House or would like to volunteer, visit http://www.provhouse.org. Thank you again to all who helped out and to the players and their wives for spending time volunteering on one of their few, precious off days!
Why make billions when you could make MILLIONS!?
I was in the Progressive Field Team Shop the other day to buy a hooded sweatshirt for my future sister-in-law, who I will refer to only as Rebecca D. Actually, that’s too identifiable, so I’ll call her R. Drew instead. Anyway, she had been hounding me forever to get her an Indians hoodie (yeah, I called it that) and her birthday was approaching so I thought I might as well. I scrounged up enough Indians Fun Money (Fun Money is like Micky Mouse money…it’s not real, but you can still buy stuff legally with it) and made the purchase.
The cashier gave my total as $34.88. She then asked if I would like to “Round Up for Charity.” You can see my Round Up for Charity blog entry here. Of course I said yes, and the remaining 12 cents was given to Cleveland Indians Charities (CIC). Twelve cents doesn’t seem like much, but if everyone “Rounds Up” that accumulates to a pretty good number for charity. Round Up, along with numerous other fundraisers throughout the year allow CIC to make some amazing financial contributions.
The past few days, CIC has been making headlines by donating those funds back to the Cleveland community. On March 31st, a Rally for Excellence was held at East Tech High School and was open to any and all supporters/students/teachers/parents of Cleveland Metropolitan School District. At the rally, Cleveland Indians Charities presented CMSD a check for $167,000 which will be used to continue their baseball and softball programs (which would have been eliminated along with their other Spring sports programs).
The Indians and CIC continued their support of the baseball and softball programs by attending the Senate League’s season opener on April 2. The ceremonial first pitch(es) was thrown out by Cleveland Indians President, Mark Shapiro and CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon. This marks the 15th season of partnership between the Athletic Department of CMSD and Cleveland Indians Charities. In those 15 years, CIC has donated over $2.4 million dollars to help operate baseball and softball programs throughout the Cleveland school system.
CIC was not done yet! On April 4, Cleveland Indians Charities President and Indians Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Bob DiBiasio along with Indians Chairman and CEO Paul Dolan made their way to the Boys and Girls Club’s Broadway Club to make the largest charitable donation in CIC history. They presented a check in the amount of ONE MILLION DOLLARS to Ron Soeder, President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland to support their “Save Our Kids” campaign.
The “Save Our Kids” initiative aims to raise $16-20 million dollars over the next five years in an effort to maximize the reach of existing Greater Cleveland clubs, add new clubs throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Breakthrough Charter Schools, and build a sustainable endowment to support the children of Cleveland.
Check out the video below for a summary of the donation and the partnership of the Cleveland Indians and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland:
Don’t Tread On Me
I don’t know how many of you know any war veterans, but I’m guessing someone in your life has taken part in a war at some point or another. If you don’t know anyone, I recommend tracking down a vet, taking a few hours and just pick their brain. The older vets are like walking history books and they all have stories that will rattle your brain.
As for myself, I count myself lucky to know quite a few veterans from wars spanning across the 20th and 21st century (WWII, Vietnam, Korean, Desert Storm, and whatever you want to call the current war). I grew up listening to one of my dad’s best friends, Tom, tell his stories from Vietnam. Every time we would go over and visit he would tell my brother and me about a different time he was under attack, or where he drove his tank, or how he received different medals. He would show us his old uniforms and photographs from a time and place that many veterans would rather not talk about. Listening to Tom (and my grandfathers and friends I graduated with), I gained a greater respect for those men and women that defend our country.
This month’s Indians in the Community event was very special to me because I had the opportunity to go to the USO care packaging facility in North Canton along with my fellow co-workers and help take care of the soldiers currently in active duty. We had a few different jobs when we were there including: rearranging the assembly line to make for easier packaging, counting and sorting DVD’s that will be put into care packages, bagging over 2,000 bags of hand sanitizer and soaps as well as boxing up over 100 care packages that will be sent out to soldiers serving overseas who are from the Northern Ohio area.
I can usually talk my way through anything but, while my blog writing skills are just amazing beyond belief, I’ve decided its time to introduce a new way for the Cleveland Indians to talk about their off the field accomplishments. Below is a link to a quick video of our time at the USO facility, including a few interviews with volunteers and the USO project manager, Jeannie Soley. With film being a visual medium, I hope these videos we produce help shed a little more light on what the Indians do to positively impact the Cleveland community as well as create a stronger connection to our fans.
Thanks to Dan Mendlik for putting the video together! Indians in the Community–USO
I Just Flew In From Afghanistan And Boy Are My Arms Tired
I had a rough day at work the other day. It was a day filled with running around from one end of the ballpark to the other, making sure things were in place for an event we were doing the next day, making sure our Fill the House for Charity night was going off without a hitch and dealing with the guy who sits next to me (Nate Janoso) who coordinates events for Cleveland Indians Charities. He’s an awesome guy, but he is cursed with rain spoiling every charity event we have. And because rain never spoils my events, I have to constantly take a special chunk out of my day to remind him how funny that is. It is very tiring.
With how rough that day was, it only took two minutes to make me remember why I love my job. It all started a week before with a guy named Ken.
Ken had given me a call and said he just got back to the states from Afghanistan to his base in Louisiana. His family lives up here in Cleveland and, while they knew he was back in Louisiana, they did not know when he was coming home. We quickly devised a plan which included setting his family (all 32 of them) up with tickets to the August 10 game. Ken’s sister was the only family member who knew what was going on and she coordinated the family part of the plan.
Ken flew up to Cleveland and met up with me. I took him down to watch the Indians take BP as well as meet some of the players. We then took him into a room and recorded him giving his family a message to make them think he was still in Louisiana and it would be played during the game. When the time came in the game to roll the tape, we stationed a camera guy right near the seats the family was sitting in and had Ken walk down to the seats to surprise them!
As the entire family watched the message play on the scoreboard, they looked so happy just to see him on the jumbo-tron. Once they then realized he was walking down the aisle they erupted into tears of joy. Ken’s two young daughters ran up to him laughing and smiling. His wife, with tears in her eyes, hugged and kissed him. The crowd of 30,000 gave him a standing ovation and began chanting “USA, USA.” It was a moment that left many fans around him with watering eyes and is a moment I will never forget.
Thank you to our scoreboard and camera crew for capturing the moment. Thank you to Ken and all of the servicemen who defend our country on a daily basis. Thank you to Jessica R. for helping keep Ken occupied in between BP and first pitch and thank you Nate Janoso for having it rain on your raffle the night before this all took place so that it would be a nice night for my event!
“Knowledge is Good.”
The beginning of June is finally here. After months of dealing with crazy Cleveland weather where it is 90 degrees one day and 40 degrees the next, we are officially free from cold weather for at least a month! Heck, I can’t even remember what a Nimbostratus cloud looks like! To the lay-person, Nimbostratus clouds are low-lying clouds that produce rain, ice and/or snow.
With June also comes the final days of school for many kids. Seniors in high school have their last summer at home to look forward to before opening up the next chapter of their life in college. Seniors in college have their last summer of freedom before they have to get a job and live in the real world–although, the way the job outlook is, they may have a couple of years of freedom before finding a job!
What else does June bring? Well Indians baseball, of course! Yes, I know the Tribe has been playing for two months now, but there are a ton of events coming up that are exciting to learn about! Here is what the Cleveland Indians and their Community Relations department has coming up in June:
June 3: Major League Baseball Player Alumni Association (MLBPAA) auction at the ballpark–auctioning off former and current MLB player memorabilia (Pete Rose autograph baseball, Nolan Ryan autograph photo, etc.)
June 5: Signature Sunday for first 100 High Achievers who check in during KeyBank Kids Fun Days
June 8: Fill the House for Charity benefiting Berea Children’s Home. Portions of ticket sales from the June 8 game will go directly to Berea Children’s Home!
June 17: Indians in the Community event: Members of the Indians front office and some players will help serve lunch at La Sagrad Church.
June 18: MLB Pitch, Hit and Run competition at Progressive Field. Local Pitch, Hit and Run winners square off to decide who will be the champion and move on to the Finals held at the 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona!
June 19: Cleveland Indians Charities “Play Catch” fundraiser. Fans can buy tickets to “Play Catch” on the field with their dad after the game. All proceeds go to Cleveland Indians Charities.
June 21: PLAY Clinic. 40 local youth are invited down to Progressive Field to participate in the clinic. The clinic is put on by the Cleveland Indians trainers.
June 22: Fill the House for Charity benefiting Special Olympics. Portions of ticket sales from the June 22 game go directly to Special Olympics!