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Marlins team up with Robinson for school kids

MIAMI -- Jackie Robinson's legacy reached students at Miami Edison Middle School on Thursday.

Sharon Robinson, the daughter of the man who broke baseball's color barrier and was a civil rights pioneer, was on hand for the Marlins Day of Service and Philanthropy.

The Marlins have a long history of being active in the community, and the organization appeared in full-force once again at the school.

Nearly 200 team employees, all dressed in blue shirts, literally went to work to help upgrade the school either by reading books to students or painting parts of the school in need of a makeover.

Before the heavy lifting was done, team president David Samson addressed the school and made donations up to $80,000 that will go towards education-related projects.

"My father would have loved it," Robinson said. "He was very much into youth. When he would go out in the community, he would do it with youth organizations. This would make him very proud."

Samson praised Robinson for her continued efforts to help make lives better for those less fortunate.

"It would be very easy for Sharon Robinson to just rest on the laurels of what her father, Jackie Robinson, did," Samson said. "But she said, 'Jackie Robinson was my father, but I'm going to do more, I'm going to continue his legacy.' That is the ultimate gift to Jackie Robinson."

Marlins Ayudan, the team's front-office volunteer program, was well represented on Thursday.

"We're so happy to be here," Samson said. "Our entire organization from top to bottom is here today. We get a chance to be around kids and help them every single day."

Those offering a helping hand included president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and general manager Michael Hill.

"To have the entire office out here today, I think that is so amazing," Robinson said. "They are not just going to be here today. They're going to be here on a yearlong basis."

Robinson is a consultant for Major League Baseball and oversees several school and community-based programs. She has written several books, including the children's titles "Jackie's Nine" and "Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson."

Before the donation ceremony, Robinson and Marlins' employees read to students in their respective classrooms.

"First of all, I'm an educator myself." she said. "To be able to focus on a program that's going to be a year long, in a community that is growing in its relationship with baseball, I think it's tremendous."

The Marlins also went through a makeover this year. The team moved into Marlins Park, a state-of-the-art retractable-roof building in the Little Havana section of Miami. They also changed from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins.

Samson has long stated he wants the ballclub to be a good neighbor. The organization is backing that claim by offering its time and money.

In 2012, the Marlins have donated more than $1.2 million in philanthropy and more than 5,000 community-service hours.

Edison Middle School serves a disadvantaged student body with 96 percent receiving a free or reduced lunch.

About one year ago, Samson made a pledge to the local school board that the organization would do its part in regards to education.

"We are building a ballpark, but one thing we're going to do in addition to building a ballpark is we are going to commit to the education system in Miami-Dade County," Samson told school officials then. "It's not just the gifts. It's not just the money, it's the time."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.
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