For the past 15 years, Mets employees have been matched with a fourth or fifth grade student at P.S. 92 in Corona to share lunch and a good book every week from November through May.
The Mets partner with Read Ahead on the program and have added their own special touches to the program by arranging a "Reading Rally" with players at the school, "Shadow Day" at Citi Field to allow reading partners to see their mentors at work, and an annual fourth grade outing to a Mets game.
Since its founding in 1991, Read Ahead has been a leading non-profit literacy and mentoring organization, pairing caring adult volunteers with children in elementary schools for weekly reading aloud and conversation.
The Mets hosted the club's first "Latino Leaders" event with pitcher Bartolo Colon at Citi Field during the 2014 season. The player engaged with teenagers from East Harlem and Corona in team-building activities that elicited stories from the player and teenagers about challenges they face and ways to rise above. The Mets worked with New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Julissa Fererras to invite deserving young adults from the Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation students and the Queens United Youth Baseball Organization in East Harlem and Corona, respectively.
Travis d'Arnaud and Zack Wheeler lifted spirits of pediatric cancer patients at Cohen Children's Medical Center in Queens. The players took pictures and signed autographs for children who were undergoing treatment and chemotherapy for cancer and blood disorders. The players and Mr. Met went bedside to bedside handing out gift bags to the children who were too sick to come out of their rooms. Patients, their siblings and parents, and the doctors and nurses who care for them all got to meet the Mets.
Lucas Duda and teammates played wheelchair Wiffle Ball with kids at the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson, Long Island. The visit marked the fourth-straight year Mets players stopped by the school for a day a fun with children who suffer from severe physical disabilities.
Gold Glove centerfielder Juan Lagares gave students at M.S. 57 in East Harlem batting and fielding tips during a spirited game of Wiffle Ball. The outfielder also recounted the challenges he faced growing up and how he was able to achieve his dream of player in the big leagues.
Citi Kids is an educational and motivational community-based initiative for New York City middle and high school students developed by Citi and the New York Mets that started with the opening of Citi Field in 2009. The program mission is to support youth development through various programs designed to instill meaningful values and knowledge that will serve as groundwork for these select youth's future.
Guest speakers this season have included New York Jets Quarterback Geno Smith, New York City restaurateur philanthropist Marcus Samuelsson, New York Knicks Guard Tim Hardaway, Jr., former New York Giants running back David Wilson and U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Erin Hamlin.
Curtis Granderson has dedicated his Grand Kids Foundation to aid positive youth development via education, physical fitness and nutrition - providing tools and resources for educational and societal advancement. He holds events throughout the year in New York and his hometown of Chicago.
The Mets hosted a special pre-game reception at Citi Field for the 100 New York City high school students who participated in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, where teams build and program a robot to perform set tasks. The students competed on seven teams, sponsored by Bloomberg, which also provided mentors for the students to help them build the robots.
The Mets welcomed 107 New York City high school and recognized as winners who defied the odds and graduated from high school and were recognized as winners of the Fund for Public Schools' Remarkable Achievement Awards. Carmen Farina, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, congratulated the students and their families during a special VIP reception in the Bullpen Plaza before the Mets game. The group enjoyed hot dogs, hamburgers, salad, pasta, popcorn and cookies before grabbing a Mets goodie bag and watching the game from Field Level seats.
At every home game at Citi Field, the Mets salute the "Veteran of the Game." A player presents the honoree with an American flag that flew over Citi Field and Citi Vision plays a segment showcasing the soldier's achievements while serving in the military.
Mets Chairman & CEO Fred Wilpon and private citizens created Welcome Back Veterans, a national public awareness and fundraising initiative that addresses the mental health needs of America's returning war veterans and their families. Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the McCormick Foundation working with University Hospitals throughout the country, support the program, which provides returning veterans the quality medical treatment they deserve.
The Mets saluted U.S. service men and women throughout the 2014 season with Military Mondays presented by GovX.com. The initiative expanded on the franchise's ongoing commitment to the military with complimentary tickets, retail discounts and community outreach events. On the field, Mets players wore camouflage jerseys for every Monday night home game at Citi Field. During each Military Monday a Mets player presented the "Veteran of the Game" with a team autographed camouflage jersey. Off the field, Mets front-office staff, alumni and players visited a VA Hospital to meet recovering veterans and the dedicated doctors and nurses who care for them.
Mets Chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon, General Manager Sandy Alderson, Manager Terry Collins, his coaching staff and the team along with Mr. Met visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The group visited soldiers at the hospital and those learning to use their prosthetics at the rehabilitation center. Everyone then enjoyed a BBQ lunch. U.S. Congressmen from New York Eliot Engel (R-2nd) and Peter King (D-16th) also joined the visit.
Jacob deGrom celebrated winning the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year Award by marching up Fifth Avenue in the Veterans Day Parade. DeGrom walked alongside New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Grand Marshal Ray Kelly.
Some of the best wheelchair softball players in the country battled during the 14th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament at Citi Field. The Mets worked with the Wheelchair Sports Federation and the New York City Parks Department to host the two-day event.
The Mets continued the tradition of helping New York rebuild from Hurricane Sandy by bringing baseball back to P.S. 52 on Staten Island. On the two-year anniversary of the storm, Vic Black, Mr. Met and more than 30 Mets employee volunteers participated in the day of service that resulted in improvements in the recreational opportunities for students at the Midland Beach school devastated by Sandy.
P.S. 52 was closed for five weeks after the storm when its basement flooded with 17 feet of water. The majority of the schoolyard still houses the school's temporary boiler and the playground is closed because of the risk of sink holes compromising recess opportunities for the children.
The Mets, joined by Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo and Deputy Borough President Ed Burke, created a baseball diamond in the schoolyard, fabricated and installed a fence to an adjacent playground that gave students access to six basketball hoops in an adjacent park, and installed a protective fence surrounded newly planted bushes and trees, replacing those lost in Sandy. The Mets also donated wiffle ball bats and balls, baseballs, and softballs for the students to use during recess and after-school activities. Inside the school, Mets employees refurbished the Family Room, painting, sanding doors and donating folding chairs from the Mets Clubhouse at Shea Stadium.
The Mets and Fresh Direct teamed up to give out complete Thanksgiving meals to more than 50 families in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan in the organization's first-ever MetsGiving.
Zack Wheeler, Vic Black along with Sandy Alderson and more than 30 front office Mets employees personally delivered meals to the families.
The Mets worked with the NYPD Community Affairs Division, The River Fund, a hunger-relief organization, and local community leaders to identify families in need. In addition to the 50 turkeys donated by Fresh Direct, Mets staff donated the remaining items including stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, gravy and dessert.
The Mets and David Wright honored NYPD heroes during the 2014 season with the "The Wright Thing" community platform. The initiative underscored Wright's admiration of law enforcement personnel as his father, Rhon, served in the Norfolk Police Department for 30 years before retiring as Assistant Police Chief last year.
"The Wright Thing" launched in 2013 with Wright honoring volunteers who made an extraordinary impact on the lives of individuals and organizations impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Honorees are invited to Citi Field to meet David before the game, install third base with the grounds crew, sit along the third base line, and enjoy an in-game video on Citi Vision that features their meeting.
Wives of Mets players visited hundreds of children in hospitals throughout the 2014 season. The group decorated cupcakes, made lanyards and hosted a baseball-themed party for children battling serious diseases and illnesses at Cohen Children's Medical Center, NYU Langone Medical Center and St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children.
Terry Collins helped package carrots with volunteers at The River Fund NY, a food pantry and service organization in Richmond Hill, Queens. The River Fund serves 800 clients every Saturday.
The Mets embarked on a series of events to commemorate the anniversary of September 11.
Terry Collins, Zack Wheeler and Travis d'Arnaud toured the September 11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero. The trio reflected on the events of the day, where they were, and how September 11 impacts their lives today.
David Wright and Dillon Gee visited FDNY Squad 288, HazMat 1 in Maspbeth, Queens on Wednesday, September 10. It marked the 11th straight year that Wright has met with firefighters around the anniversary of September 11.
Jacob deGrom, Daniel Murphy and John Franco went to NYPD headquarters to visit with family members of the 23 officers who lost their lives on September 11.
More than 600 fans donated blood at the Mets annual Blood Drive at Citi Field with the New York Blood Center. Since 2009, blood drives at the ballpark have produced more than 5,000 pints of blood, and the Mets honored the fan who donated the milestone pint. Virginia from Shirely, New York was the lucky fan. She received VIP tickets, passes to watch batting practice from the field, a team signed jersey and the chance to meet her favorite Mets player. In exchange for donating, fans received a voucher for a pair of tickets to a Mets game.
Mets fans donated more than 12,000 pounds of food during the three-day Mets Food Drive presented by Hain Celestial. City Harvest collected the food and distributed to community food programs throughout New York City. The amount donated helped feed 1,700 for a month or 133 families for a week. Wives of Mets players and Myriad Restaurant Group's Tracy Nieporent joined Mets staff at collection points around Citi Field. Each fan who donated five non-perishable food items received a voucher good for two tickets.
At the annual off-season drive in October 2014, fans donated more than 4,200 pounds of food, setting a new record.
The Mets provide annual support to the New York Cares Coat Drive with their own "Warm-Up" Holiday Coat Drive at Citi Field. Fans who donated one or more coats received a pair of tickets to a Mets game. Fans donated more than 1,300 coats in December 2014, making it New York Cares' largest one-day event of its campaign.
The Mets supported the 31st annual National Night Out last August at eight NYPD rallies in Queens. Mets volunteers distributed t-shirts and other giveaways while Mr. Met and Mrs. Met greeted families at select locations. New York State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney, New York State Councilman Costa Constantinides and New York State Senator Michael Gianaris joined Mr. Met at the 114th precinct event in Astoria Park.
The New York Mets Foundation funds and promotes a variety of educational, social and athletic programs and other charitable causes. Founded in 1963, it continues its mission to invest in the future of our community, and to provide assistance to myriad organizations that benefit children and others in need. A registered 501©3 charity, the Mets Foundation takes no portion of the funds raised to offset internal costs. The New York Mets pay 100% of the Foundation's overhead to ensure that the entirety of a donation is directed toward helping others. For more information, log on to metsfoundation.org ».
The Mets hold their annual Welcome Home Dinner presented by Alliance Building Services at the start of the season to celebrate the return of the team to New York. The players, manager, coaches and the rest of the organization attend the event that benefits the North Shore-LIJ Katz Institute for Women's Health and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year's dinner raised more than $700,000 and featured a Flushing Feud game show that pitted the Hitters versus the Pitchers, players sitting at tables with guests and an online Amazin' Auction with unique experiences and memorabilia.
David Wright held the first "The Wright Stuff" Fantasy Football Draft with teammates Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Daniel Murphy. The players sat at the draft table alongside Mets fans who donated money to participate in the event. Over $50,000 was raised for the Ronald McDonald House New York, Ronald McDonald House Long Island as well as the Mets Foundation and Big League Impact. After the draft, the participants took photos with the players and Mr. & Mrs. Met. They also enjoyed a VIP tour of Citi field as well as getting the chance to watch batting practice from the field.
The Mets host an annual "Night to Believe" fundraiser at Citi Field to benefitting Project ALS, a non-profit organization renowned for their outstanding leadership in finding and funding treatments and a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease. This 2014 event featured Mets ambassador John Franco and raised over $200,000 for a total of over $2 million in the past 12 years.
The Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevy, recognizes the player in Major League Baseball who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. In September, a nominee from each of the 30 MLB teams is announced on Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB in 2002 to pay homage to the Hall of Famer's legacy. The Mets nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award this year is David Wright.
Founded in 1986, B.A.T. is dedicated to assisting members of the Baseball Family with medical, financial and psychological issues with confidential, short-term assistance to help get them back on their feet. Major League Baseball covers the operating expenses therefore every dollar raised is used to provide assistance to members of the Baseball Family in need. The majority of the funds raised by B.A.T. come from the players who contribute through a payroll deduction program. In 2013, the players contributed more than $2.3 million.
MLB's Mother's Day efforts will once again be highlighted with special programs designed to raise awareness about breast cancer prevention and early detection, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research. The Mets and 29 MLB teams will host the Honorary Bat Girl Contest to raise additional awareness and recognize fans who are "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" in their daily lives. Mother's Day games recognize an Honorary Bat Girl and feature special in-park "pink" programming, including pink ribbon logos on the bases and many players using pink bats.
The Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevy, recognizes the player in Major League Baseball who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. In September, a nominee from each of the 30 MLB teams is announced on Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB in 2002 to pay homage to the Hall of Famer's legacy. The Mets nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2014 was David Wright.
Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit and Run -- the official skills competition of Major League Baseball -- is a free grass roots program which encourages youth participation and emphasizes the fun of baseball. The competitor's ability to hit, run, field and throw is tested at regional trials and compared with others in his or her age group across the United States to qualify for the National Finals held during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. The Mets host an on-field regional competition at Citi Field and recognize the local winners in a pre-game ceremony.
Major League Baseball teams up with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to increase awareness and early detection of prostate cancer on Father's Day. On-field personnel wear blue wristbands, eye glare and ribbon uniform decals, while blue ribbon logos appear on bases, commemorative home plates and lineup cards. A "Home Run Challenge" fundraising component is implemented during select MLB games to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
To support the growth of youth baseball and softball, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) has teamed up with MLB Baseball Clubs to organize equipment collection drives across the United States. The Mets have collected over two thousand baseball and softball bats, gloves, balls and catcher's gear the past six seasons to benefit The Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance, which distributes the donations to area youth baseball organizations. The BTF also presents a grant of $5,000 to go toward the purchase of additional equipment.
The Mets, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund and the SNY PlayBall Program teamed up to hold a field maintenance clinic at Citi Field to instruct 60 coaches, groundkeepers and athletic directors from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Bill Deacon the Mets Director of Field Operations & Landscaping, led the clinic, which help attendees better maintain youth fields throughout the region. As part of the program the Baseball Tomorrow Fund awarded two $5,000 field maintenance grants to purchase field maintenance equipment, supplies or services.
The Mets participate annually in the MLB Players Association Buses for Baseball (BFB) program. BFB gives underprivileged kids in the metropolitan area the chance to attend a Major League game as personal guests of the players. The Players Trust partners with local transit authorities and Major League teams, as well as charitable organizations in Major League cities, to share the thrill of a big league game with kids who need more chances to smile. The kids are welcomed by Mets players who spend time signing autographs, giving away souvenirs and posing for photographs. Complimentary food and soft drinks during the game -- and often the chance to see their names on the scoreboard -- provide lasting memories before the bus heads home.
The Mets partner with Major League Baseball umpires to offer memorable baseball game experiences for children awaiting adoption and at-risk youth in mentoring programs. Children receive a VIP experience including great seats to see the Mets at Citi Field, a goody bag of 'all things baseball', and the unique opportunity to step onto the field for a souvenir baseball and photo.