FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 24, 2007
Willie Randolph Joins Parks & Recreation In Celebrating the Summer Sports Experience
Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and New York Mets Manager Willie Randolph today joined neighborhood children who participate in the Summer Sports Experience to celebrate the success of this year’s program. The Summer Sports Experience is primarily funded by the Willie Randolph Foundation. Taniesha Randolph, the daughter of Willie Randolph and the Executive Director of the Willie Randolph Foundation, was also present at today's event, which was held at Liberty Park in Queens.
The Summer Sports Experience is a youth development program that provides children, ages 7-15, in low-income areas with free, intensive, structured lessons in a variety of sports. Children learn fundamental skills in baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, track and field, tennis, and more.
A pilot program offered at three City parks in 2006, the program expanded to 11 citywide sites in 2007. Each site offers half-day programs for three-week long sessions in July and August.
"The Summer Sports Experience gives New York City kids the opportunity to play ball and train with the best, in baseball, soccer, track and field, and more, in City public parks," said Commissioner Benepe. "I am grateful to the Willie Randolph Foundation, for providing the lead program funding, as well as to the New York Mets, the Heckscher Foundation, and the New York City Sports Commission for their assistance in helping it grow from a pilot program in three City parks to 11 sites in all five boroughs."
Willie Randolph and Commissioner Benepe joined the program’s coaches as they taught children in sports instructional clinics. At one point they participated in a soccer drill, stressing the importance of stopping the ball before striking it with the side of the foot. Willie Randolph also fielded questions from the children revealing that he enjoyed playing football as a youngster and that his favorite baseball team growing up was the Mets.
Including Liberty Park, the Summer Sports Experience is offered at St. Mary’s Park, Haffen Park, and Mullally Park in the Bronx; the Prospect Park Parade Grounds and Betsy Head Park in Brooklyn; East River Park and Jacob Schiff Park in Manhattan; Victory Field and Maurice Park in Queens; and Stapleton Playground in Staten Island.
In addition to being primarily funded by the Willie Randolph Foundation, the Summer Sports Experience is made possible with additional assistance from the New York Mets, the Heckscher Foundation for Children, Parks & Recreation, and the New York City Sports Commission.