When Superstorm Sandy struck the east coast in late October of 2012, the Players Trust, on behalf of all Major Leaguers, acted swiftly to earmark up to $500,000 in funds to help relief and recovery efforts in the short and long term.
The disaster hit very close to home for many Major Leaguers, their families, friends and fans, and by providing aid from the Trust, the players were making a commitment to help their neighbors in need.
As many know, the devastation seemed endless, and in locations up and down the eastern seaboard, nearly two years later, the recovery efforts are still ongoing.
One such effort happens to be led by one of the Trust’s most recent grant recipients, the Long Island Volunteer Center, which received a $50,000 grant to assist in the reconstruction of a boardwalk and observation deck located in a Long Island salt marsh.
Prior to the storm, this boardwalk was used by the Nike Alternative High School, as well as Long Beach, LI elementary schools, to teach students about ecology at one of the few coastal salt marshes in the area. The grant from the Trust is desperately needed to help restore the wood deck, walkway and roof of the south side of the boardwalk at the NIKE facility. To say this structure was severely damaged by Sandy is an understatement.
To help shine a spotlight on the efforts of the Long Island Volunteer Center and other supporters of the restoration effort, the Trust and New York Mets players Eric Young Jr., Chris B. Young and Zack Wheeler recently visited the Nike Alternative High School to witness the damage first-hand and to meet with the students from the school.
After learning about the history of the school, and hearing emotional and personal stories from the students as to how they were affected by the storm, the players toured the campus and coastal marsh land. Before leaving, the students even put the players to work, as the group teamed up to plant vegetables in garden beds that have gone unused since Sandy demolished the area.
As Principal Marcia Mule expressed, the event was memorable for all. “We are very excited to receive the grant from the Players Trust. This leads to more opportunities for the Nike students and the Long Beach Elementary School to enjoy and learn about the marsh,” said Mulé.
New Jersey Native Eric Young, Jr. felt the effects of the hurricane in his home town and could personally relate to what the students have experienced. “This is my area and anytime I can give back and help out the area that raised me, I’m all for it,” he said.
In addition to playing an active role in the area’s recovery efforts, the players hope others will learn about the work that remains to be done in areas hit hardest by Sandy, including the boardwalk at Nike Alternative High School. To learn how you can help, please contact http://www.longislandvolunteercenter.org/
More about the Nike Alternative High School
The NIKE Alternative High School is a part of the Long Beach City School District and provides 30-50 at-risk high school students with tailored programs to help them advance toward graduation. Many of the students come into the program shy of credits to graduate due to social and emotional issues they have faced growing up. The program’s success rate is well over 90% with the vast majority of students earning their high school diploma.
To see the players in action click here: News 12 Long Island–Mets players help Sandy victims in Lido Beach.
Check out the photo gallery here: Disaster Relief
Photos courtesy of Pat Dillion, Dillon Photography.