Former Chicago Cubs baseball player C.J. Stewart never forgets his roots — and we’re talking roots that go all the way back to elementary school. Stewart brought the “Ambassadors” players from his LEAD2Legacy foundation to his old stomping grounds at Grove Park Elementary to help teachers prepare for Day One APS (Aug. 9). About 11 players on the Amassadors summer-league baseball team — who attend metro Atlanta middle and high schools — joined Stewart and Coach Duane Wilson to help move in and set up classroom equipment for a very grateful faculty. We caught up with Stewart, Wilson and his players (also known as the “Ambassadors”) as they helped teachers including Alvie Hunter, who’s moving from the third grade to the fifth grade this fall. (See video above.)
One of those Ambassadors was rising sophomore Julian Phiffer, who will serve as the captain of Washington High’s baseball and swim teams next school year. “I’m grateful that I get to help the teachers get more organized for the new year,” said Phiffer. “I know they were happy to see us when they came.” Phiffer also said he appreciates the many volunteer opportunities that he gets by working with L.E.A.D. (which stands for “Launch, Expose, Advise and Direct”). The organization has led canned-food and book drives at the school, and Phiffer has participated in other activities such as visiting children who live in a nearby foster home. But Friday was all about moving and unpacking equipment for the teachers, and the pitcher-outfielder was glad to help.
“I love it,” said Phiffer, who moved to Atlanta with his family last year from a small town in Tennessee. “I’ve never had opportunities like this. It’s like a dream come true. I like helping people who can’t help themselves.”
Read more about Stewart and his works in an article from the school paper at his alma mater, Georgia State University, here. For more on LEAD2Legacy, click here. Stewart directs the organization with his wife, Kelli. They hope to bring baseball instruction to schools around APS with LEAD2LEGACY, including Grove Park, this year.
We’ll be providing more images from schools getting ready for Day One APS both here and on our District website’s Media Gallery. Keep coming back for more info. Hat tip to Grove Park Principal Caitlin Sims for letting us know about this, and for springing for the pizza!