The New York Red Bulls spread a little holiday cheer with a recent visit to the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in New York City. Members of the team's front office were in attendance to hand out gifts and Red Bulls gear thanks to a toy drive that was held among employees at Red Bull Arena.
Matt Reeves, Training Programs Administrator for the Red Bulls, first developed ties with the hospital when he conducted a training program with some of the children earlier this year as part of the Believe Program. Not only was the program a huge success, but it helped open the door for future involvement. That’s where the Red Bulls’ toy drive came into play.
"Through the Believe Program we look to give kids a chance to experience the game of soccer who typically would not be able to,” Reeves said. “The partnership that has been created with the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center has given us the opportunity to do just that, but in the spirit of the holidays we wanted to try and do a bit more.”
The Pediatric Center focuses on developing and enriching the lives of children who suffer from various ailments and medical conditions. The ages range from birth to 21 and the Center offers a number of programs specially catered to help the children reach their potential while also comforting the families along the way.
“At the training session we ran in October we saw the dedication the ESPC staff have to the kids they work with and this gift drive was an opportunity for us to support a great facility with a staff of people who go far beyond what their job descriptions are to be sure these kids are well taken care of,” Reeves said.
Toys, games, jerseys and scarves – the kids got them all as Reeves and other Red Bulls front office members delivered the goods.
Jason, a 14-year-old patient at the center, received a Red Bulls scarf and shirt in addition to Battleship and Trouble board games. His friend Jude, who comes from a family of devout soccer fans, received a Red Bulls scarf, shirt and building blocks to share with his friends.
“It’s always great to give back during the holiday season,” said Christina Giunta, Client and Community Relations Manager for the New York Red Bulls. “But to come here and put smiles on kids’ faces makes it even better.”
Between Academy outreach and training programs, the New York Red Bulls interacted with over 34,000 local youth in 2011, a number that is expected to grow even more in 2012.
"From the Believe Program I want to say thanks so much to the New York Red Bulls family who donated to this drive,” said Reeves. “We hope they realize that their generosity is important to some great kids."