|HOPE Week honorees from the past 10 years of the initiative were in attendance. All Photos by Jason Schott.|
The Yankees celebrated the 10th anniversary of HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) with an on-field celebration at Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon, and it featured running the bases, carnival games, face painting, wiffle ball, and magicians.
All past honorees from the first 10 years of HOPE Week were invited to the field-day style celebration, and they were joined by Yankees General Partner/Vice Chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, General Manager Brian Cashman, players CC Sabathia, Brett Gardner, and Gary Sánchez; and coaches Josh Bard, Carlos Mendoza, Phil Nevin, P.J. Pilittere, Marcus Thames and Reggie Willits.
|Brett Gardner taking a picture with honorees.|
The award-winning initiative is a unique week-long community program that brings to light remarkable stories intended to inspire individuals into action in their own communities, and this year's HOPE Week will take place through Friday, June 21.
Jason Zillo, the Yankees Vice President of Communications and Media Relations, is the brainchild for HOPE Week, and he said to the honorees on Monday, "You are recognized the way that you should be because you're special people and we like to think that we're a special organization and from 2009, we have been glad to share your stories with others."
|Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal (left) with Jason Zillo and honorees.|
Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said of what his initial reaction was hearing about HOPE Week in 2009, which began in his first season in New York, "It was exciting. I always want to give back to the community and do whatever I can. To have this set up for us was awesome. Any time you can give back to the community and feel like you're making a difference is huge.
|CC Sabathia meeting some of the honored guests.|
"Being here the last ten years, I've been to every HOPE Week, so I'm very familiar with everybody here, so it's been a lot of fun."
|CC Sabathia pitched to some of the cherished guests.|
The National Anthem before Monday night's game against Tampa Bay will be performed by members of 2011 HOPE Week honoree, Daniel’s Music Foundation. Teremonial first pitch will be thrown by 2015 HOPE Week honoree Chris Singleton.
Over each of the following four days (Tuesday-Friday), the Yankees will reach out to an individual, family or organization worthy of recognition and support, surprising honorees with a day celebrating their accomplishments. Outreach will often take place away from Yankee Stadium, allowing the Yankees to personally connect with individuals in settings that highlight their greatest successes.
|Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal.|
|Brett Gardner (left) and CC Sabathia (right) talk to the honored guests.|
|The honorees enjoyed the once in a lifetime experience of running the bases, such as this couple.|
|A kid ready to take a big swing at a pitch from CC Sabathia.|