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Rays donate $30,000 to Tampa YMCA



The Rays awarded a $30,000 All-Star grant to the Tampa YMCA to benefit the Teen Achievers program, whiich was initiated in 2009 at Blake High School and targets students who are at risk academically and need intense support. “The Rays are eager to support a program that can serve as a blueprint for educators and youth counselors throughout the nation,” said Rays President Matt Silverman. The program started with 25 students last year and has grown to 75.

Here is the team release:

The Rays Baseball Foundation, the official charity of the Tampa Bay Rays, today awarded $30,000 to the Tampa YMCA through the club’s All-Star Grant. 

The grant will benefit the Tampa YMCA’s Teen Achievers program, initiated in 2009 at Blake High School .  This well-respected, proven national model targets academically at-risk students, who need intense academic and/or social support.
“The Rays are eager to support a program that can serve as a blueprint for educators and youth counselors throughout the nation,” said Rays President Matt Silverman.  “The partnerships formed through the Rays Baseball Foundation continue to be a source of great pride for all of us in the organization.”
Through grants and other contributions, the Rays Baseball Foundation has invested over 1.8 million dollars in the Tampa Bay region over the past three years.
The goals of the Teen Achiever program are to improve students’ academic performance, build employability skills, increase feelings of self-esteem, and surround students with a positive network of supportive adults. 
During school hours, the kids participate in career exploration and leadership development sessions, after school they participate in skill-building and tutoring programs provided by the YMCA, and on the weekends they attend Saturday Academy , where they meet with Tampa Bay-area professionals and are guided in potential careers. 
When the program began, there were 25 freshmen.  Today, Teen Achievers includes 50 freshmen and 25 sophomores.  In 2009, students in the Teen Achievers program outgained other students in the school district by 30 percent in 9th grade FCAT reading scores.  
“Thanks to the Rays Baseball Foundation’s contribution, we’re continuing to challenge and encourage these students to set high goals and achieve them,” said Michael Brown, Group Vice President of the Tampa YMCA.  “Our goal is to continue providing support and guidance to these students and, eventually, take this program throughout the county.”
The Rays Baseball Foundation focuses primarily on youth and education programs in the Tampa Bay region that make a measurable difference in the Tampa Bay community. The Foundation’s All-Star Grant selection process started in May with a candidate pool of nearly 150 community nonprofit agencies. The All-Star Grant provides substantial monetary support to help community organizations fulfill their mission. 

Key contributors to the foundation include Rays owners, sponsors, fans, employees and players. All Rays players currently signed to multi-year contracts contribute to the Rays Baseball Foundation and its programs. That group includes current Rays Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Kelly Shoppach, Carlos Peña, Willy Aybar, Ben Zobrist, James Shields and Dan Wheeler.


[Last modified: Thursday, November 25, 2010 12:15am]


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