Local elementary school gets visit from Marlins

Players, front-office staff distribute supplies during Impact Week event

August 27th, 2019

MIAMI -- The fifth stop of Impact Week found the Miami Marlins organization visiting Kensington Park Elementary on Tuesday as part of the Slugger Schoolhouse program.

Marlins players , , , , , and joined in with Marlins front-office staff in assisting with the school's physical education class, serving lunch and eye exams with Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Billy The Marlin and Marlins Mermaids were also on hand for the event.

"This week has been fabulous," said Miami Marlins Foundation executive director Raquel Egusquiza. "We've had an opportunity to make an impact across South Florida."

The day featured a back-to-school distribution in partnership with the Kiwanis of Little Havana Foundation. More than 1,000 students received school supplies for the academic year.

The Miami Marlins Foundation Slugger Schoolhouse program brings together year-round resources from the Miami Marlins, MLB and its partners to schools in the Marlins Park neighborhood. Each year the foundation coordinates a minimum of one monthly touch point with the schools throughout the year. In addition to Kensington Park Elementary, participating schools include Lenora B. Smith Elementary and Poinciana Park Elementary.

Impact Week continues through Thursday, and so far has been a resounding success.

"The reaction has been incredible," Egusquiza said. "You just see the smiles on the kids' faces when they walk through and see the resources we're bringing to them. But also just how happy they are to really be able to high-five a [Marlins] player, to high-five Billy and to interact with us and know that one day they can aspire to either work in our front office or be a player themselves."

Anderson, whose season was cut short when he suffered a fractured left hand after being hit by a pitch on Saturday, said he feels blessed to be in a position to help out and be a role model.

"I feel joy in knowing that you can help others just by showing up somewhere," said the Marlins third baseman. "Having this platform and being able to give back, I feel lucky and blessed to be able to do it."

Anderson was one of a handful of Marlins players handing out school supplies while meeting and greeting the students.

"Hopefully it'll just kind of brighten their day a little bit," he said. "Anything I can do to help these kids out, have a good time, that's what we're here for."

The festivities continued on Tuesday for Kensington Park Elementary School and principal Susana Suarez. She represented the school, which was to be honored prior to the Marlins 7:10 p.m. EDT first pitch Tuesday, as recipient of the "Ballpark Wishes" recognition.

It's a new initiative launched by the Miami Marlins Foundation this season that celebrates individuals or organizations that are making an impact in wellness and empowerment in the local community. It's a program that aims to increase awareness and inspire others by shining a light upon the contributions of selected nominees who are making a difference in the South Florida community.

"Tonight is very special for us," Suarez said. "We're very excited and looking forward to tonight's game."

But it isn't just one day -- the Marlins are partnered with the school year-round.

"This year we have a true partnership with the Marlins," Suarez said. "We're so grateful. Last year 300 of our students received free eyeglasses. The Kiwanis and the Marlins help us with all the different back-to-school giveaways from paper to markers to crayons, all kinds of things. This helps our community. The kids just love it and we love having them here."