"Being the Naming Rights Partner with the Houston Astros since 2002 has allowed us to reach farther into the community than the four walls of Minute Maid Park," said Mike Saint John, president of Minute Maid. "Our community partnership with the Astros is Minute Maid's Grand Slam for Youth Baseball, which in the past has provided an opportunity for thousands of Greater Houston area youth to learn about and play baseball in a safe environment. This newly-expanded outreach with The Astros Foundation at the Urban Youth Academy will allow us to serve even more kids in the years to come."
Additionally, Urban Youth Academy member, Astros Bat Boy and 17-year-old-high-school senior Nate Crawford received a standing ovation after delivering a moving talk about how his life was changed by the UYA. Afterwards, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow presented Crawford with team autographed bat and Minute Maid awarded him a $2,500 Grand Slam for Youth college scholarship.
As part of the dance competition, the five Astros players/dancers were judged by their 2013 teammates, who gave their ratings and humorous comments to each dancer following their performance. The results were:
-Honkey-Tonk Badonk- A- Donk Award: Trevor Crowe
-The Hips Don't Lie Award: Jose Altuve
-The Moves Like Jagger Award: Jarred Cosart
-The Bringing Sexy Back Award : Jake Elmore
-The 2013 Dancing with the Stros Grand Prize Winner: Dallas Keuchel
Minute Maid's support of The Astros Foundation aims to increase free youth baseball and softball related programming with the official team charity's Urban Youth Academy program, including engagement with youngsters served by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, at HISD public school KIPP Explore Academy and through occasional UYA-led clinics at local parks in disadvantaged Houston neighborhoods. In addition, the support will seek to leverage middle schoolers' love of baseball in order to increase math, science and literacy skills with a special worksheet contest next season at Astros games, as well as an increase in academic enrichment programming with group classes at the Urban Youth Academy in northwest Houston. The Astros Foundation also will collaborate with Minute Maid in the Houston-based company's 11-year-old Grand Slam for Youth college scholarship program.
"The Astros have long been proud to carry Minute Maid's name on our ballpark," said Astros President Reid Ryan. "Now with this expanded charitable outreach with the Astros Foundation, Minute Maid is once again stepping up to the plate and helping kids here in Houston. "
"Having managed Grand Slam for Youth Baseball with the Astros for the past 11 years, I have had the chance to see little kids literally grow up in our program, enjoying baseball and softball, graduating from high school and even receiving
our scholarships to go on to college," added Fred Arnold, Minute Maid's Community Outreach Manager. "Some of those
young adults have returned to help us help the next generation of Grand Slam kids! That's what it's all about and it makes me proud to work with The Astros Foundation on the expansion of this program."
Supporting sponsors of Dancing with the 'Stros Presented by Minute Maid included Comcast Sports Net, Platinum Pools, Sysco Corporation, Capital One, Bill and Sara Morgan, Silver Eagle Distributors, Barefoot Wines, House of Blues, Lummis Transportation and other supporters.
Proceeds from this team-wide charitable fundraiser will benefit The Astros Foundation's Urban Youth Academy. The non-profit program provides free, year-round baseball and softball instruction as well as mentoring and leadership development training for at-risk and low-income youth at the UYA facilities in the Acres Homes neighborhood of Houston.
ABOUT THE ASTROS FOUNDATION:
The Astros Foundation is the official team charity of the Houston Astros. Led by Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane and his partners, the Astros Foundation seeks to harness the passion of baseball fans in our region to support our cornerstone charitable youth baseball and softball programs serving at-risk children and teens of Greater Houston. Those initiatives include the Astros Community Leaders program, the Astros Urban Youth Academy and the Astros RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) league. The Executive Director of the Astros Foundation is Astros Sr. VP of Community Relations Meg Vaillancourt. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.astros.com/foundation or email firstname.lastname@example.org.