THORNTON, Colo. -- Nolan Arenado was in middle school just a decade ago and remembers that part of his life fondly and vividly.The Rockies' All-Star third baseman understands that stage of adolescence is where teens are often still seeking their true identity, and as such, peer negativity is often a
THORNTON, Colo. -- Nolan Arenado was in middle school just a decade ago and remembers that part of his life fondly and vividly.
The Rockies' All-Star third baseman understands that stage of adolescence is where teens are often still seeking their true identity, and as such, peer negativity is often a byproduct. Doing his part to steer kids towards a more positive well-being, Arenado spent Tuesday morning at a suburban Denver middle school sharing and taking in stories of positivity as part of the Rockies' Home Run for Kindness program.
"The people of Denver have been great to me, so it's the right thing to come back and do the right thing for the kids," Arenado said. "People think this is a sacrifice, you know, I'm sacrificing my time. This isn't a sacrifice of my time."
The Rockies have worked hand-in-hand for three years with Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAKF), an internationally-recognized nonprofit. They remain the first and only professional sports team RAKF has worked with.
Rockies owner and CEO Dick Monfort took initiative in contacting Denver-based RAKF in light of several school shootings with the premise that spreading positively-induced psychology to young students could make a difference.
"The Rockies have been amazing. They've embraced us in a way I didn't expect," said Brooke Jones, vice president for RAKF.
Arenado and teammate Ben Paulsen have become the latest ambassadors -- or 'RAKtivisits' -- to represent the team in the RAKF initiative. Each voyaged to separate schools Tuesday.
Rocky Top Middle School, where Arenado visited, has adopted the RAKF's Kindness Curriculum, which incorporates lessons of respect, perseverance and other values that in turn help foster positive relationships.
Arenado spent the morning taking in the various stories the students and teachers had to share while perusing the halls as a rockstar of sorts. Kids leaned from classrooms just to get a glimpse of the Gold Glover, one even yelling from afar: "That's the best third baseman in the league!"
Arenado spent more than the planned time at Rocky Top before heading to Coors Field for Tuesday's game against the D-backs. But he was fine with devoting a little extra time knowing his appearance was a special occasion that could impact many youngsters in a positive way -- perhaps more than he could imagine.
"I'm a big believer in random acts of kindness. I'm a big believer in spreading positivity because there are so many negative things in the world and there's negative things in baseball. It's a hard game, so to have any little boost of confidence -- whatever it is -- it makes a huge difference."
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.