It's not often you'll catch professional baseball players tossing around water balloons. But on Tuesday, you would have seen just that – when New York Yankees players surprised the non-profit organization, Tuesday's Children at the Beekman Beach Club. The Yankees presented the organization with a $10,000 check and then took a water taxi to Yankee Stadium for the night's game against the Mariners, all part of the team's HOPE Week.
Founded in the year following the September 11th, 2001 attacks, Tuesday's Children provides a unique mentoring program for children who lost a parent that tragic day, by pairing them with an adult role model who also lost family on 9/11.
Since its inception, 175 children have been served and more than 50 are still a part of active mentoring relationships. Together, the mentor-mentee pairs meet twice a month and their time together is often informal – such as going to the movies, playing at a park, or simply hanging out a home. A few times a year, all pairs unite for group activities.
At the beach party, Tuesday's Children mentor, Keith Pryde, was honored with a “Mentor of the Year” award for his work with Robert, who lost his father in the attacks a month before he was born.
Pryde understands loss well – after losing his mother in the 9/11 attacks, he later lost his sister in the Virginia Tech shootings – and credits the program with helping him grieve. A pair for nearly three and a half years, Robert will serve as the ring bearer when Pryde marries his fiancée in September.
“The mentors involved in our program have all experienced deep losses,” said Sara Wingerath, director of mentoring and family programs for Tuesday's Children. “Giving in this way helps them deal with a range of emotions. Some never got to say goodbye to their loved one, and this is a chance to make things right. There's no way to make sense of tragedy, but reaching out to someone else in need makes the pain easier to bear.”
About Hope Week
Created to recognize the individuals and organizations whose acts of goodwill provide hope and encouragement to their community, the New York Yankees HOPE Week is in its third year. Each day, an honoree is surprised by Yankees players and staff. Then later, the honorees attend that night's game as guests of the team.
The Corporation for National and Community Service partners with the NY Yankees to present each honoree with a President's Volunteer Service Award. By using the story of the HOPE Week honorees, the NY Yankees and CNCS hope to send the message that everyone can serve to make their community a better place.