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SNY Play Ball program pres. Citi helping to build future leaders through sports

Ed Kranepool at the Citi/SNY Play Ball Grant Dedication Ceremony Photo by: Stacy Podelski

The SNY Play Ball program presented by Citi was at Dyckman Fields at Inwood Hill Park on Wednesday, for a very special Grant Dedication Ceremony to the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights at Inwood. As the youth baseball league was one of the eight to receive vital funds through the Play Ball initiative.

“It is really great for the families in these communities. We run a program that is very affordable and it gives these kids skills beyond the field,” said Michael Fermaglich who is the Chief Operating Officer of the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood. “To have this funding to know that we can keep this operation running is amazing and we are grateful.”

On how he had heard of the SNY Play Ball program Fermaglich had this to say, “A bunch of our families have seen the promos on SNY before, which was helpful and we thought hey maybe we can be one of those places that can meet the criteria . I am sure many leagues are deserving of these funds-we are really grateful to be selected as one of the leagues.”

“This year was easy, had to submit something through Facebook, it was a narrative through that social media site. We had to show what we did as a league, what we stood for, who we were serving and what we would do with the funds and based on that we were able to get the funding,” the COO had to say of the application  process.

With Mets-great Ed Kranepool on hand to interact with the youngsters of the YM & YWHA program, along with SNY Vice President of Marketing & Business Development Marie DeParis and Citibank Branch Manager Jessy Sepulveda in presenting a giant check and helping to build a brighter future for the participants

“SNY is the TV home of the Mets and we thought it would be a great way to give back to the sport of baseball,” said DeParis to Examiner.com. “Most of us have played youth baseball –giving back to a community that touches a lot of people’s lives.”

DeParis had this to say of how the Play Ball program, “Last year we decided to give $5,000 grants to six youth baseball leagues-they were all amazing stories and we wished we could give grants to everyone. It was a great program and we decided to renew it this year-we are really happy to support youth baseball and to get more kids involved in this game.”

The Play Ball program is now able to expand its popular charitable youth baseball and softball initiative thanks to the partnership with Citi who strives to make a positive impact to the New York City area.

“It is always exciting to be a part of the community, seeing the joy on the kids’ faces-seeing them having fun and playing ball. This is why Citi is here is so that we can make a positive impact on the community,” Sepulveda told 1495 Sports “It is essential for Citi to make a positive impact in the New York City area, one of the initiatives that we have is the Citi Field Kids program, which is assigned to help kids to have a positive impact in their community.”

Kranepool, who is a native of the Bronx was thrilled to be on hand and to be able to give back to youth sports-a program that was able to help him in developing into being one of the many leaders of the 1969 team that won the Mets’ first World Series.

“It gives me a warm feeling to come back to some of the playing fields that I participated in as a youngster in Sandlot baseball and we developed here,” Kranepool told 1495 Sports. “These parks have gotten better over the years and it is good to see these programs in existence thanks to the contributions by Citi and SNY.”

Kranepool continued by saying, “The programs that they put together, you see the joy on these kids’ faces as they play ball, they are active and doing something positive, which is the important thing.”

Kranepool was on hand to teach the importance of sports, and served as great role model for the youngsters. These future leaders were able to learn that not only dreams come true-but the lessons of giving back and playing in sports. Not only did Kranepool learn his lessons from playing youth sports, but the executives in attendance all learned life lessons through sports.

Michael Fermaglich, Marie DeParis, and Jessy Sepulveda all had different positive experiences in youth sports; as each executive were  able to learn the values of teamwork and leadership thanks to their involvement in athletics.

“Being a part of sports makes you more outgoing, while at the same time you learn a lot about teamwork-being a part of a team brought the leader out of me,” Sepulveda told 1495 Sports “It gave me the opportunity to interact with other players, coach them and help them become better players.”

Fermaglich had this to say on playing sports,” I played all kinds of sports growing up, so for me professionally to see these things happen is amazing. Sports is a very important part of my life, it is the reason why I chose to be in a field where recreation is a part of our mission.” The COO continued to say, “It really helped me personally with self-esteem and what you can learn from team sports is transferable to many aspects of life.”

SNY will continue to hold special dedication events at each of the selected league’s home field, and will showcase the leagues in a segment during an episode of the network’s Emmy-Award winning children’s show Kids Clubhouse.

Citi also has a ton of upcoming community related event for fans to check out, as both companies are hoping to build a better future through these initiatives.

“I’ve always lived in New York and I always try to give back-especially to the youth. I played in these programs; they were developing and starting when I was starting,” Kranepool said. “A lot of good things have come from these programs and anytime I can give back thanks to the sponsorship of Citi and SNY I say let us get out and do it.”

Written on April 19, 2012 also seen on the Examiner.com site below:


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