by Eddie Mayrose
New York Yankee Granderson an Inspiration
The next time you hear someone espouse the idiotic notion that professional athletes shouldn’t strive to be role models for impressionable youngsters, mention Yankees’ centerfielder, Curtis Granderson. Recognized for his charity work with the 2009 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award by Major League Baseball, Granderson has a great appreciation of his own good fortune and a generosity of self that extends into the community. His foundation, “GrandKids”, was established in 2008 as an educational-based organization. The son of two educators, Granderson’s mission is to enforce educational initiatives to youth and to help bring the sport of baseball back to the nation’s inner cities. The foundation purchases school supplies for needy families and kids, books and supplies for schools which do not get the funding they always need, establishes baseball programs and provides equipment and facilities in some of Michigan ‘s inner cities and seeks to establish a scholarship program for graduating high school seniors. More importantly, it has also served to inspire community service at the game’s most basic level.
Elliot Mast is a sweet-swinging, eleven-year-old Little Leaguer in Pittsburgh who was a guest of Grant Paulsen on his XM Radio show, “Minors and Majors”, last week. He’s one of the better players in his league; as proficient on the mound as he is with a bat in his hand. A while back, he and his dad were watching a television piece about Granderson’s foundation. Later that day, as the two were fishing, Elliot asked his father, “Why couldn’t I do something like that?” “The first thing I said”, recalled the elder Mast, “was, ‘You don’t make the money that he makes.’” But Elliot was not swayed, suggesting he take on extra chores and solicit neighborhood donations. The charity Elliot wanted to support was close to his heart; the Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital.
Born with a clubbed foot that was corrected at an early age by doctors at the hospital, Mast has a sense of appreciation and gratitude that far exceeds his years. ” I know how scary it is for these kids. I just want to give back and inspire others to do the same.” He set a goal of $5,000 to be raised during the current baseball season. In addition to collecting donations door-to-door, he’s dipping into his own pocket as well; having set a personal giving level for hits, home runs and strikeouts. Before the first pitch was even thrown, Elliot had passed the $300 mark.
Asked by Paulsen what his most important message would be; the youngster didn’t flinch. “No matter what your age, get out and make a difference in your community every day.” Wow. “Out of the mouths of babes…”
You can find out more about Elliot Mast by visiting him on Facebook, reading his blog, firstname.lastname@example.org or following him on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Elliotmast. To make donations to Curtis Granderson’s “GrandKids” foundation, visit www.grandkidsfoundation.org.