On Thursday, December 15th, the Miami Marlins gathered at Shake-A-Leg Miami to kick off their Marlins Ayudan Day of Service and Community Engagement. The 2012 Marlins Ayudan teams were announced, each one led by a Club Executive. Each team was given a booklet containing instructions to the day's events. The booklet included riddles and trivia questions about landmarks throughout Miami, a crossword featuring Club corporate partners, a word search of local celebrities as well as a challenge to perform random acts of kindness throughout the day. The teams were also assigned to a school where they would give an hour of their day to spend time with children at a Teach for America or City Year classroom. Finally, each team was given $1,000 to spend throughout the day, with the overall challenge of being the team that made the most significant impact in Miami. After a few minutes of deliberation, all 14 Ayudan teams took off in their own van driven by a Miami-Dade Police Officer and spent the day canvassing Miami, engaging our new neighbors in a "Random Acts of Kindness-themed" Scavenger Hunt.
Check out what our Ayudan teams did during the Day of Service ...
Team Samson made an impact in Miami in a variety of ways. The team primarily spent the majority of their allotted $1,000 on toys and canned goods. The toys the team was able to purchase were donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Miami and several surprised patients at Miami Children's Hospital. The group made their donation of canned goods to the Camillus House.
Team Beinfest split their $1,000 allotment to two charities. The team made two $500 donations, the first to the Willy Chirino Foundation, and the second to Home & Stead Senior Care Center - Santa for a Senior Program.
Team Hill made donations with their $1,000 to several charitable organizations. The group made visits to the Ronald McDonald House, the YMCA, and Kiwanis of Little Havana where they donated toys they had purchased earlier in the day. They also made a donation of canned goods to the Camillus House. The groups charitable efforts extended further with them buying lunches for patrons at Taste of Miami locations Don Camaron and Papo Llega y Pon.
Team Designated for Assignment made contributions to several Miami charitable organizations during the Day of Service. The UM Cochlear Center received toys and a brand new DVD player. The team made cash donations to the City of Hialeah Special Population, Ronald McDonald House, Camillus House, the Liberty Square Housing Project, and Alonzo Mourning Charities.
The Voice spent a good portion of their day visiting with children at the Candy Hour Nursery and School. The team also donated toys to the children at the nursery during their visit. During their visit to Publix, the team bought groceries for patrons. At the same time, the team bought sandwiches they later distributed to the hungry.
Pura Vida spent their day visiting and making donations to multiple child care facilities. The team made donations to St. Jude's Missionary Fund, as well as St. John's Children's Day Care. The team also paid a visit to Holtz Children's Hospital where they donated toys to several of the hospital's patients.
Team Restore Miami paid a visit to the Boys & Girls Club of Miami Dade where the team donated 30 Publix gift cards set at $25 apiece for families and patrons of the Club. Restore Miami also bought diapers and baby food for St. Bosco Church in Little Haiti.
Team Extra Innings made very specific donations with the money allocated to them. Rather than purchasing canned goods, the team went out and purchased blankets and a microwave and donated them to the Camillus House. The team also donated over $400 in toys to St. Vincent De Paul.
Extra Innings also had a very special encounter during their Day of Service. During their visit to the Holocaust Museum, Extra Innings was privileged with the opportunity to meet with a Holocaust survivor who spent some time sharing his story with the group.
Team New BIG-Innings made a concerted effort on the Day of Service to make an impact on Miami's youth. The team made a $250 donation in the form of Toys 'R Us gift cards to the Overtown Youth Center. On top of that donation, the team donated 10 - $25 Office Depot gift cards to Teach for America teachers at Miami Edison High School. New BIG-Innings capped off their day by providing a surprise pizza party for the Leadership Learning Academy at St. Bosco Church.
Team Pulse wanted their first donation to ensure a happy holiday season for all the boys and girls from Ebenezer United Methodist Church. They donated $300 worth of Toys R Us gift cards to the church, and another $300 of Publix gift cards to help pay for the church's annual community holiday feast.
The team also picked up the grocery tab for shoppers at Publix in excess of $200, and made a Miami Marlins contribution to Jackson High School for school supplies.
Team Animal House's main focus is to work with and help animals. On the Day of Service, this team visited the Humane Society of Greater Miami and made a $150 donation to the Humane Society and also donated $150 worth of beds and toys for the cats and dogs at the Humane Society. They also helped out by playing with some of the dogs and assisted with laundry and folding doggy towels.
Also, the team handed out Christmas stocking to strangers stuffed with Marlins giveaways, Dave and Busters coupons, and Publix gift cards.
The theme of the day for The Rescuers was to touch the lives of as many people as they possibly could. The Rescuers started their day by purchasing Publix subs and waters for the homeless but they were not done there. Before the day was over, the team had donated arts and crafts supplies as well as toys to The Ledge Miami, the YMCA and made a $100 donation to Camillus House.
For their first act of random kindness, Team King took to the waters by donating $500 to help protect the Marlins natural water friend, the Manatee. Then the team headed back to the mainland, making contributions to the Miami Children's Museum VIP Program, as well as the Police Officer Assistance Trust. The team wrapped up the day at the Miami Children's Hospital where team members visited with the kids.
It was a full day of giving for the Designated Helpers led by team leader Steve Ethier. The team began the day by donating canned good to Camillus House. The team followed that up by donating diapers, blankets and wipes to St. Johns Tots Center, and toys to the local Boys and Girls Club. Finally, the team visited the students of Frederick Douglass Elementary School. After spending some time with the kids, the team donated healthy snack food which had been bought at Publix.