The New York Yankees announced Friday the launch of the Fueling Our Future initiative in partnership with Nike and Dream (formerly known as Harlem RBI). The youth community initiative will target underserved communities with a focus on the Bronx, providing local young people with health and wellness skills for exceling in the classroom, on the field and in their daily lives.
Fueling Our Future was originally unveiled April 15 in recognition of Jackie Robinson Day, with 42 seventh- and eighth-grade students from DREAM Charter School selected to take part. The number of students for this inaugural year of the program matches the uniform number worn by the legendary Hall of Fame player.
The efforts of the Yankees regarding this initiative fall under the auspices of the Yankees Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which focuses on identifying and combating disparities and systemic inequities that obstruct socioeconomic fairness and progress for marginalized groups.
“It is a great honor for the Yankees to begin the positive work of the Fueling Our Future initiative,” said New York Yankees Senior Vice President of Community Relations Brian Smith. “As young people grow to become adults who will shape our society, they are faced with countless influences and choices. We have the in-house resources to provide education on core aspects of personal growth and maintenance, and we gladly take this opportunity to reinforce healthy decision making for those in our community who need it most. The Yankees also offer their special thanks to Nike, who are providing their resources to make this initiative as impactful as possible.”
Fueling Our Future will serve its students through five weekly virtual seminars with Yankees employees who are experts in their respective fields, as students will receive guidance on mental health, physical fitness and healthy eating and food choices.
The first session will take place today, featuring Yankees Associate Director of Mental Conditioning Chris Passarella, who will guide mental health discussions aimed at promoting positive thinking. Examples and scenarios will be presented that encourage rationality and healthy responses to challenging circumstances that young individuals may commonly encounter.
Future sessions will feature direction on physical fitness, led by Yankees Player Health & Performance staff members. These sessions will focus on content to promote exercise within a child’s home setting that is both practical and fun to do. Demonstrations will teach techniques and provide background on the importance of engaging in regular physical activity.
Education regarding healthy eating and food choices will be led by Legends Senior Executive Chef Matt Gibson, who oversees all dining at Yankee Stadium. He will provide nutritional lessons highlighting label misconceptions, the dangers of poor long-term eating habits and the proper way to select foods that fuel the body in a healthy manner. Food preparation will be taught using everyday items that can be easily and affordably found in local food markets or via enhanced food access programs associated with this initiative. Recipes will consist of small snacks that young people can create on their own.
Those that complete the five-session program will be invited to take part in unique in-person clinics and seminars later this summer that will serve as an opportunity for participants to enhance their physical and mental skills. An emphasis will be placed on teamwork, attitude and healthy competition.
In support of Fueling Our Future, Nike will provide merchandise and equipment, further fostering the health-oriented principles of this program.