Results tagged ‘ Community Relations ’

Stephen Strasburg kicks off DC Public Library’s 2016 Summer Reading Program

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To celebrate the beginning of the DC Public Library’s 2016 Summer Reading Program sponsored by the Washington Nationals, Stephen Strasburg visited Hearst Elementary School on Monday to read to and interact with local students.

The 2016 Summer Reading Program is the largest program in the District that addresses the “summer slide,” or the loss of learning that children and teens experience when they do not read during summer vacation. Comprised of several age-specific initiatives, the program encourages summer reading by offering local youth various incentives, including a Nationals/DC Public Library soft baseball (kids up to the age of five), a Nationals Activity Book (ages six through 12) and tickets to select Nationals games for students (ages six through 18) who reach their summer reading goal.

“The DC Public Library Summer Reading Program is a wonderful merger of opportunities,” said Gregory McCarthy, Vice President of Community Engagement for the Nationals. “DCPL has wonderful community-based programs at its 26 branches throughout the District and the Nationals can provide a great platform to motivate parents and their children to sign up for summer reading.”

The Nationals’ three-year commitment to the DC Public Library’s Summer Reading Program includes annual contributions of tickets, merchandise, program collateral and other support.

Since the Nationals became involved in the program, the number of participants has increased more than 100 percent, doubling since summer 2013, when 13,000 participants were registered. Last summer, 27,000 youth participated.

More information can be found at To sign up for the program, visit

“Baseball is a powerful tool to promote learning and healthy lifestyles among children,” said McCarthy. “The program allows our team to reach thousands and thousands of young people.”

Nationals 2016 Dream Gala netted more than $400,000 for Dream Foundation

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On Saturday evening, Nationals players, coaches and guests from around the region celebrated the “Power of Baseball” at the 11th annual Dream Gala, held at the Marriott Marquis Washington DC. As the primary fundraiser for the Nationals Dream Foundation, the 2016 Dream Gala netted more than $400,000 for the Foundation’s initiatives focused on academics, the arts, nutrition and sports for children and teens in the Washington, D.C. region.

The event featured a cocktail reception and silent auction, as well as a dinner program and a live auction hosted by Nationals radio broadcaster Charlie Slowes. Live auction items included memorabilia from Max Scherzer’s two no-hitters in 2015, and an autographed watercolor painting of 2015 National League MVP, Bryce Harper. Experiences included a trip to Hawaii, spending the day with the Nationals Baseball Operations team and General Manager Mike Rizzo, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime experience to travel with the team to Citi Field in July when they face the New York Mets.

A 501(c)3 charitable organization, the Dream Foundation is committed to improving the lives of children and teens in the Washington, D.C. region through community partnerships. Enjoy the above photos, and to find out more information on the Dream Foundation or to make a donation, visit

Get to know the Nationals 2016 Honorary Bat Girl: Corinne Irwin

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Corinne - Opening Day 2015

Major League Baseball announced the winners of the 2016 Honorary Bat Girl contest last week, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and who demonstrate a commitment to supporting the fight against the disease.

The Honorary Bat Girl for the Washington Nationals is Corinne Irwin of Washington, D.C. She will be recognized on NatsHD and will be announcing play ball before the team plays the Miami Marlins on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.

Corinne was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2012, and endured five surgeries, 18 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation. Throughout treatment, Corinne and her husband watched the Nationals’ 2012 postseason run. Corinne is a four-year cancer survivor and is now an advocate dedicated to providing support for other women battling the disease. During her treatment, she set up a blog to let her family and friends know about her progress and how she was doing physically, emotionally and spiritually, which she now shares with newly-diagnosed women.

“I can carry that with me every day…to remember this really is a wonderful world, full of wonderful people who are very caring and pull for you whenever you need it,” said Corinne.

Corinne now works to raise awareness of Lymphedema and how it affects many survivors, and makes chemo caps for Knots of Love, a charity that distributes caps to cancer treatment centers throughout the country.

The Nationals are inspired by Corinne’s strength and positivity, and wanted to get to know her better…

Who’s your favorite Nationals player?

Oh no- I have to pick! This is so hard. Can I say a few? I’ve got such a soft spot for the 2012 players who are still with the team: Jayson Werth, and Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Gio, and Strasburg, Ramos and Danny, because I really did get to know the team that year, and I just love watching them all play.

Have you always been a Nationals fan, or did the 2012 postseason really “get you on board”?

We’ve always been fans; we were actually at Opening Day in 2005. My husband was a big Senators fan, and I must admit, even though I grew up here, I really didn’t know about the Senators (also because I was too young). We’ve both been going to games since the team came back. So, I say we’ve always been fans, but in 2012, we got to see so many games because I was sick. Watching them on the television upped our bonding with the team.

What are some of your favorite hobbies and what do you like to do in your free time?

I’m an avid gardener and especially interested in native plants and sustainable gardening, and I volunteer with organizations like the Anacostia Watershed Society to do environmental work. I’m really excited about the 11th Street Bridge Park, which of course is going to be right near Nats Park. I’m excited for the environmental angle of that, and also the equitable development angle.

For cancer-related things, I crochet my caps, and also do blankets for the neonatal intensive care unit for the same organization, Knots of Love. For me, it’s just a small way to give back.

I started doing it because, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my cousins, who unbeknownst to me had been making chemo caps with Knots of Love for years, made and sent me five chemo caps. It was just one of the early blessings, and I also crochet, so I thought, why not? I started making them every time I had a chemo session, because that takes 5-8 hours, so I would just make caps, and I’ve done it ever since. It’s a small thing, but I also know how important it is when you’re sick, to get something that helps you feel beautiful, and covers your bald head, and makes you feel loved.

How has being a breast cancer survivor affected your outlook on life?

Really positively. I think anyone who goes through a severe illness is really happy for the life they have, and I certainly am. It was amazing how friends and family, and extended friends literally around the world and literally of every major world religion were pulling for me and praying for me through this illness.

You know, even if things hadn’t turned out as well as they did, to be able to experience that was wonderful. And I can carry that with me every day from now on to remember this really is a wonderful world, full of wonderful people who are very caring and pull for you whenever you need it.

What is the advice you give to women who were recently diagnosed with breast cancer?

The biggest advice I have to somebody who was recently diagnosed is to breathe, and to know that most women survive breast cancer today, and to have faith in that.

There’s going to be a whole lot of information that comes at you in that first month. I tell them just to trust that it’s going to get better after that first month, and it won’t be so overwhelming. And, to pay attention to making the decisions you need in that first month. But any decision you don’t really need to worry about yet, just set that aside, so things like: what if I have a reoccurrence? Don’t worry about that, because right now you’re just getting diagnosed and treated. Put the long term stuff aside and just focus on what you do need to know now. Write down all of your questions so every time you go to an appointment, you can ask and get answers. But don’t worry too much about questions you don’t need answered yet.

Thank you, Corinne for all that you do and we look forward to honoring you at the ballpark tomorrow!

Spring Cleaning: Fans encouraged to participate in the Youth Baseball and Softball Equipment Drive on Sunday

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There’s no better way to get a jump start on your spring cleaning than by donating items to the Nationals’ equipment drive for D.C.-area youth baseball and softball players on Sunday, May 15 at Nationals Park.

Fans are encouraged to donate both new and used equipment, and can drop items off outside of Center Field Gates or by the entrance of the youth baseball parade line near right field. Items will be collected through the second inning of Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins.

Items needed include:

  • Bats
  • Batting gloves
  • Catcher’s equipment
  • Youth batting helmets
  • Bases
  • Baseball pants
  • Cleats
  • Baseballs
  • Softballs

Check out a few images from the 2015 equipment drive, and don’t forget to bring your items to the ballpark on Sunday!

Nats help beautify DC’s Ballou High School

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

community service 041 c.jpgThe Nationals continued their philanthropic efforts around the DC area and participated in a volunteer effort on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at a local D.C. Public School. In support of the President’s “United We Serve” initiative and Serve DC’s Seasons of Service Days, Washington Nationals Front Office Employees volunteered at Ballou Senior High School’s School Beautification Project.

Education is one of the cornerstones of the Nationals’ community relations programming, so it was only fitting that staff spent their “day off” helping to beautify the local school and make it a more inviting place for students.

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community service 044 cc.jpgAt the school, Nationals staff banded together with several other local volunteers – including Ballou students – to remove graffiti from the hallways, clean lockers, repaint the bathrooms and interior doors, design bulletin boards, and paint murals in the school library. Within four hours, the school had already transformed into a nurturing environment where the students can learn and grow.

community service 047 c.jpgCommunity Relations is one of the pillars of the Nationals organization, and the Nationals are happy to have had the opportunity to make the school a positive place for the students to thrive during their high school years and beyond.  

Pups at the Park

Ladies, Gentlemen and poochies. That’s right, tonight Nationals Park played host to some canine companions during two exciting events: the First Annual Pups in the Park and the Second Annual Adopt-a-Pet. Below are some pictures from these fun events.




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Puppies 046.jpgTo find out about how you can adopt a pet, check out the Washington Humane Society’s website here.


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2009 Washington Nationals Blood Drive

The Nationals hosted their fifth annual blood drive in conjunction with the American Red Cross. Nats fans from far and wide, as well as, members of the Nats front office rolled up their sleeves to donate blood. In all, the blood drive collected an amazing 252 pints of blood!


rob dibble.jpgMASN Color commentator Rob Dibble went with the sleeveless method for an easy donation. We can tell he’s done this before.


 pat listach2.jpgThird base coach Pat Listach showed up in uniform to donate blood. Hope it won’t affect him later as he waves Nationals runners home.


pat listach.jpgAlways willing to help out the fans, Listach signed autographs to pass the time.


zimm blood drive1.jpgStarter Jordan Zimmermann even stopped by to sign autographs and meet with the donors.


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zimm blood drive4.jpgOverall, it was a very successful day. Thank you to everyone who showed up to donate as well as the Red Cross for all of their help today.


First-Ever Grill-Off at Nationals Park

Food Network Event 002b.JPGThe Washington Nationals welcomed the The Food Network today as The Next Food Network Star finalist Teddy Folkman took on Levy chef Phil Bucco in battle flank steak/swordfish. The two contestants were both told of the mystery protein just as the 45-minute challenge began.



Food Network Event 026b.JPGChef Folkman, a District area chef who owns Granville Moore’s Gastropub in DC, chose flank steak…


Food Network Event 012b.JPGWhile Chef Bucco, who oversees menu concepts and the food served in each area of the ballpark, went with the swordfish.


Food Network Event 003b.JPGThe event was hosted by Eddie Gilbert, who was also a finalist on this season of The Next Food Network Star.


Food Network Event 017b.JPGFans from all over swarmed the event to get a glimpse of the chefs and (hopefully!) a taste of their creations.


Food Network Event 056b.JPGDuring the event, Teddy stopped by to see what the excitement was all about. His choice to win the battle? The other Teddy, of course!


After 45 minutes, the chefs finished their dishes and prepared for the judging.


Food Network Event 058b.JPGChef Teddy Folkman prepared his grilled flank steak with a grilled potato salad and a pineapple-tomato sauce.


Food Network Event 059b.JPGChef Phil Bucco served up an all-grilled dish of swordfish, zucchini and potatos topped with a tropical mango salsa.


Food Network Event 064b.JPGThe two judges, The Washington Post Food Editor Joe Yonan and WTTG Sports Anchor Dave Ross, were brought in for the event. They were sequestered during the cooking process and were unaware of which chef cooked each dish.


Food Network Event 065b.JPGThe other two judges, Kim Dickson of Alexandria and Becky Goehler of Richmond, were chosen by host Gilbert to sample the food. Both women had a blast at the event and really enjoyed trying the food the chefs made.


“I don’t usually like fish dishes, but I couldn’t stop eating this one,” said Dickson.


The judges scores are in, and the winner is…


Food Network Event 071b.JPGTeddy Folkman!


Food Network Event 067b.JPGAnd the chefs generously gave out samples of their dishes to the fans in attendance.


Food Network Event 069b.JPG“We do events like this all the time,” said Folkman. “But this is definitely the best one yet.”

Nationals collect 1,100 ties in first-ever Tie Drive

032708-023 team 1st visit.JPGThe Washington Nationals collected over 1,100 neckties during their first-ever tie drive on Thursday, June 25 during their game against the Boston Red Sox.  The collected ties will benefit Career Gear, a non-profit organization that serves disadvantaged and underserved men in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. The Nationals partnership with Career Gear includes the collection of suits and ties from on-field personnel and front office staff. Additionally, Career Gear will identify a beneficiary to receive a suit made by a tailor used by Nationals players to be presented during a pre-game recognition ceremony at the end of the baseball team’s season.


 “Washington Nationals fans continue to demonstrate their incredible generosity with their contributions to another successful drive,” said Nationals Vice President of Communications and Community Relations Chartese Burnett. “Throughout the team’s five years in the District, our fans have stepped up to the plate time and again to help those less fortunate then themselves.

Domestic Violence Awareness Day at Nationals Park

The Washington Nationals and Becky’s Fund will host Domestic Violence Awareness Day at Nationals Park on Friday, July 3, when the team plays the Atlanta Braves at 6:35pm. Becky’s Fund is a public charity dedicated to domestic violence awareness and prevention. The Nationals have joined the fight against this human rights offense and invite their fans to strike out domestic violence with Becky’s Fund.

District of Columbia Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas will present a resolution passed by the DC Council prior to the start of the game, declaring July 3, 2009 “Domestic Violence Awareness Day” in Washington, DC, and will present The Bill of Domestic Violence Rights. Councilmember Thomas will challenge Nationals fans and District residents to join the fight against Domestic Violence, which affects one in every three women in their lifetime.  Nationals fans may visit the Community Desk, located in the Left Field V, for more information on Becky’s Fund, to make donations, and for the chance to win t-shirts and autographed memorabilia.