09/22/2011 5:10 PM ET
Phillies All-Star Shane Victorino hosts grand opening of Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys and Girls Club
Placing Shane in an Elite Group of MLB Players to Have Boys & Girls Club in Their Names
Philadelphia - The Shane Victorino Foundation's co-founders, Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino and his wife Melissa, hosted today the official grand opening celebration for the Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys & Girls Club.
Special guests that joined Shane and Melissa for the event included master of ceremonies Chris Berman (ESPN Sports Anchor), Tim Brosnan (MLB Executive Vice President, Business), David Montgomery (Philadelphia Phillies President), Rick Wegryn (Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia Past Chair), John Gonzalez, Jr. (Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia Youth of the Year) and Phillies representatives including Ben Francisco and Ruben Amaro, Jr. (General Manager).
"I am incredibly grateful to the city of Philadelphia for embracing my family and me throughout our years here and we wanted to find a way to give back," said Victorino who joins a select list of MLB players with Boys & Girls Clubs named after them. "While our Foundation's $900,000 pledge was very ambitious, Melissa and I strongly believe updating this club is a necessary investment in the neighborhood that will provide children with unbelievable opportunities that they desperately need," he added.
The ceremony kicked off with a welcome and introduction by master of ceremonies Chris Berman followed by a proclamation from Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Michael DeBeradinis. The dais of speakers also included Montgomery, Brosnan and Gonzalez, Jr. Victorino thanked the people of Philadelphia for embracing him as one of their own and, with tears of joy, urged the children of Nicetown to "dream big" and fulfill their dreams, as he had done. The ceremony concluded with Shane, joined by Melissa, Mike Victorino (father) and Joycelyn Victorino (mother), unveiling the name on the building and performing a traditional Hawaiian grand opening by un-tying a Hawaiian Maile located at the building's front entrance.
Immediately following the ceremony, the Victorinos welcomed guests to view the amenities of the club and enjoy a ballpark-themed reception with food and refreshments provided by Aramark, Coca-Cola of Philadelphia and Potito's Italian American Pastries. Other sponsors for the event include Sign-A-Rama of Philadelphia Center City, Color Reflections, Inc. and ABG Productions.
"We are so grateful to everyone who has teamed with our Foundation to provide positive opportunities for children in need," stated Melissa Victorino. "We are honored to be able to make a difference in the lives of children who are this city's future," she concluded.
The grand opening was held to showcase the newly renovated 105-year-old club. The Shane Victorino Foundation's mission is to promote opportunities for underserved youth in Philadelphia and in Shane's native Hawaii. The Foundation pledged to raise nearly $1 million to fund this renovation project in an impoverished area of Philadelphia. Beginning today, the club will be re-named "Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys & Girls Club," making it one of only a handful of clubs named in honor of an MLB player.
The Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys & Girls Club will offer a safe haven for children between the ages of six and 19, living within a mile of the facility, and provide programs and services to more than 300 children per day. The 16,000 square foot building features a full-size gymnasium, teen center, game room, media/technology center, after-school study lounge, kitchen, offices and other ancillary spaces. More than 60% of households in the Nicetown community are led by a single parent and nearly 50% of the families in the community live below the poverty line.
ABOUT THE SHANE VICTORINO FOUNDATION
Shane and Melissa Victorino founded the Shane Victorino Foundation (SVF) in 2010. The nonprofit is dedicated to promoting opportunities for underserved youth in Philadelphia and Hawaii as it engages in projects which provide children with educational, recreational and wellness programs. The organization's major endeavor in Philadelphia is the renovation of the Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys & Girls Club, in which the nonprofit pledged nearly $1 million to renovate the 105-year building. Additionally, the SVF currently sponsors the Flyin' Hawaiian All-Stars charity ticket program which provides children's groups with game tickets, t-shirts and concessions at a Phillies' home game. In the off-season, the Foundation hosts a number of events, including a holiday toy drive. In Shane's native Hawaii, the Foundation has raised more than a half-of-a-million dollars for various charities, including the Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui and others. For more information, visit shanevictorinofoundation.org.
ABOUT THE NICETOWN BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia began serving residents of the Nicetown community in 1892. The Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys & Girls Club facility opened at its current site in 1906 and was the first in the nation to serve girls and boys from its inception. The Nicetown Club was one of three in the city that comprised the original group of 53 clubs that formed Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 1906.
ABOUT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA
The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of America is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. A Boys & Girls Club provides: a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals, life-enhancing programs and character development experiences and hope and opportunity. For more information, visit bgca.org.