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!
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
Welcome back to my blog! I say that as if you people left me and are just now coming back, when in reality I know that you didn’t really leave me. You just realized that there weren’t any new blog posts since the beginning of December 2011 and there was no reason to come back until now. One could blame me for the lack of blog posts. I blame the Indians for giving me so many vacation days in a one year period and having such a busy schedule from January through November that I can’t actually use them until the last month of the year so they just pile up and I take them all at once! That was quite a run-on sentence there, eh?
Anyway, I’m back now and that is all that matters, really.
I’m here to share with you the Indians first Indians in the Community of 2012. Once again we kick started our year of volunteering at the St. Augustine Hunger Center in Cleveland. We had about 14 members of the Indians Front Office help prepare and serve lunch on January 11. We did anything from peeling potatoes, to cutting up peppers and onions, to re-stocking their food pantry. We then worked on the buffet line and served the customers their lunch. The meal was a pretty square meal including Italian sausage in cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes, salad, green beans, beef soup, bread, and a nice little piece of cake for dessert.
It was great to share some laughs with the customers of the Hunger Center and some of us even shared some tears–not with the people but more so with the onions as we cut them up (pause for laughter)!
The Hunger Center opened it’s doors over 30 years ago and is part of the St. Augustine Church. For those that are wondering, the Hunger Center does not only provide meals, but also addresses other needs of the poor and the homeless such as: food, clothing, emergency funding for rent and utilities, furniture, appliances as well as advocating for those poor seeking medical help.
They are always accepting of donations and, from our experience there, are in definite need of potato peelers, napkins, and plastic silverware to name a few things!
Thank you to all employees who volunteered as well as Dan Mendlik for taking the photos.
I can’t say that nothing has been going on since my last entry, because we have been swamped with things going on. To start, I recently returned from our Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Arizona. I was there for about a week for our yearly signing day. This is a day where our all of our front office autographed needs are fulfilled. We have the players come in early before their workouts and have them sign. And sign. And sign. All in all, we had about 4,000 items ranging from baseballs to photos, jerseys and bats get autographed and then authenticated. All in a shade under 3 hours. Not bad.
The majority of the items are used for our in-kind donation requests that come from local charities across the state of Ohio. If you are having a fundraiser, feel free to submit by going to www.indians.com and clicking on the “community” tab. While we try to respond favorably to all requests, there are some that we just can not fulfill based on our guidelines.
What else has been going on? Our Cleveland Indians KeyBank High Achievers Kids Club (yes, it is a mouthful, but totally worth it) just finished the 1st semester of submittals. For those that don’t know, this is a free program for kids ages K-8th grade. They have two opportunities to submit their grades, attendance and reading forms–once for the 1st semester and once for the 2nd semester. They earn STARS based on maintaining A’s and B’s, getting perfect attendance, and reading 3 books per semester. They can then redeem the STARS for prizes at the Team Shops (free game tickets, posters, chances to win meet-and-greets, etc.) For more information on that, go to www.indians.com/highachievers or shoot me a comment and I’ll get you more info.
This Wednesday, we’ll be taking our Indians in the Community program out to the Boys and Girls Club (Broadway Club), where we’ll be hanging out with the kids from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. I’ll have more on that Wednesday night/Thursday morning.
That should cover everything that I wanted to cover. Stay tuned later this week for more information!
This past Friday, the Cleveland Indians Front Office volunteered at the USO care package facility down in North Canton. There were about 11 of us that made the trek down 77 South and it was quite possibly the farthest Indians in the Community event we’ve ever done. But you know what? It was worth it.
We arrived at the facility, which is a lot smaller than I had pictured, at about 10:00 and were welcomed with open arm(y). Get it? Open arms, but since it is the USO I put Army in there instead. Moving on…
We got a quick background on the USO and all that they do for the soldiers–which this particular facility handles pretty much all of Northern Ohio. An amazing distance considering how many soldiers there are from Ohio. That should probably be a statistic I have handy for you, but you’ll learn it better if you look it up for yourself.
Once the background was over, we learned how to package things up. They take those US Postal Service “Flat Rate Boxes” and fill them as much as they possibly can. And just when you think you can’t fit anything else in there, they will find a little air pocket that you missed and make you fill it even more. It was amazing how much you could get in there to make it way 10 pounds. We put in DVD’s, CD’s, toothpaste, deoderant, soaps, contact solution, hand lotion and sanitizer, books, dryer sheets, anything you could think of that had to do with health and wellness. Then, in other boxes, we crammed canned foods, jerky, cereal, candy, chips and a whole bunch of other food.
All in all, we ended up filling up and packaging 137 care packages, which I’m pretty sure is some sort of record. We also had Slider come and visit/help out/destroy the facility. Plus, we got some face time on Fox 8 News and Newschannel 5.
Today was the first Indians in the Community event of 2011 and it went pretty well. We started off small for the first event and had about 11 volunteers help out at St. Augustine Hunger Center in Cleveland. The volunteers were members of the Cleveland Indians front office and their job was to prepare and serve lunch to the needy.
Upon our arrival, we were told that we weren’t just going to assist preparing the food–but instead we were going to make it all ourselves! The normal cook said she was going to “trust” us to prepare whatever we wanted. She gave us about 15 tubes of ground beef (yes, they came in wrapped tubes) and a ton of sauce. What else could we make, but some good ol’ spaghetti and meatballs. We also added some potato soup, garlic bread and salad.
Below is a picture so you can see that we actually were there with our hair nets on and everything! I now know what the Lunch Lady felt like in Adam Sandler’s song “Lunch Lady Land.” I didn’t hear any complaints on how the food tasted, so we must have done okay.
The blog will take a small break before our next big Community Outreach adventure, but I may still post some Tribe-type things up here just to keep you all on your toes.
Well after a couple of days without a blog update, I thought it would be about time. I flew home from our Spring Training complex in Goodyear, Arizona on Sunday morning. The flight had to take me from Phoenix to Philadelphia and then back to Cleveland. I can’t figure out why they make you fly farther West to then go back East. Anyway, here is a quick round up of the rest of how the Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp went:
B.A.T.S and Killer B’s made it to the championship game with B.A.T.S winning the trophy. It was a very close game all the way, but they edged out a win. After the championship game on Thursday night, the campers had all of Friday to hang out and relax until the final banquet Friday night. We held a raffle, a silent and a live auction. All were pretty successful and raised over $14,000 for Cleveland Indians Charities. Add that to our total of a little over $5,000 from Kangaroo Kourt fines and we had a pretty successful week. There will be many happy youth baseball teams that, I’m sure, will appreciate the money.
Now that Fantasy Camp is over, we can look towards our first Indians in the Community event being held tomorrow at the St. Augustine Hunger Center. We will have about 12 front office employees headed over there from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm preparing and serving lunch to the less fortunate. It should be a good time and I’ll hopefully have a picture that I can post up here (as soon as I figure out how to post pictures). Stay tuned…