A note of HOPE: Yanks team up for dance video to wrap special week

June 22nd, 2024

NEW YORK -- The Yankees finished up HOPE Week on a musical note, by busting a few moves.

To celebrate social media’s connective tissue, the Yankees teamed up with Instagram and TikTok sensation @kidthewiz, students from Dance to Unite and an array of fellow New Yorkers, creating a new dance video that they posted to their social channels. They also hosted video participants for batting practice prior to New York's series opener against Atlanta at Yankee Stadium, concluding HOPE Week in celebratory style.

Dance to Unite is a nonprofit organization that utilizes dance and guided conversations about values to teach and celebrate respect, cultural diversity and kindness. It serves 265 elementary and middle school students from New York City schools in underserved communities largely comprised of students of color.

“Our focus is not perfection of the movement,” said Dance to Unite founder Galit Adani. “But more about exemplifying the vision of peace and kindness and collaboration. Peace starts with yourself.”

Shinquing Huang, a fourth-grade student at P.S. 130 in Chinatown, took part in the program in 2023. She said the best thing she learned at Dance to Unite was kindness.

“Everyone can accept each other,” Huang said. “Even if they are from different countries and not used to this world.”

The Yankees donated $10,000 to the organization, which has served more than 2,000 students since October 2009. Stars Gerrit Cole, Anthony Volpe and Anthony Rizzo also visited The Today Show on Friday morning to further spread the message of HOPE Week, which has generated more than $1 million for charity since its inception in 2009.

“We only have so much time here on Earth, so many weeks in a year, so to be able to use our platform to reach out, bring the community in and give back is such an inspiring feeling,” Cole said. “It’s really hard to put into words sometimes when you see magical moments.”

This was the 15th year of HOPE (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) Week, an annual, ambitious week-long community outreach program meant to highlight the good that individuals do and paying it forward. The Yankees chose each 2024 honoree with a common theme in mind: the good social media can do. With social media an ever-present part of modern life and so much of the daily conversation devoted to its negative aspects, the Yankees worked to spotlight individuals who have embraced social media as a tool to uplift and inspire.

They felt an excellent example of that is reflected in the popularity of videos that incorporate music and dance, forms of expression that transcend cultural boundaries and unite people from around the world. By bringing a diverse cross section of people together for Friday’s video, they hope to remind people that our similarities are greater than our differences.

“Being a kid, you see stuff like this,” Volpe said. “You see HOPE Week. I came up through the organization and always tried to be involved. I think this is what makes you a Yankee. They’re known for winning on the field. But there are also so many great people, not just baseball players, that have come up and played for the team. We’re just trying to follow in their footsteps.”