DJJ in the Community: Beat the Streets and the Gwinnett Braves
Special thanks to Latera Davis and Scott Cagle for story support and photographs of the event
On April 29th, youth and representatives from the Department of Juvenile Justice's Beat the Streets program were given a special tour of the Gwinnett Braves (G-Braves) stadium, CoolRay Field, in Lawrenceville. The G-Braves are the AAA affiliate team for the Atlanta Braves.
Beat the Streets is a FREE 11-week incentive-based running program modeled after Atlanta Track Club’s successful Kilometer Kids healthy exercise initiative. Atlanta Track Club specifically tailored the running program for youth housed at DJJ facilities. Enrolled youth accept the challenge to try to run 26.2 miles, the length of a marathon, over the course of the program. To keep them motivated, the youth will have a chance to earn incentive prizes along the way. The tour of the Gwinnett Braves facility was one such incentive prize.
Atlanta Track Club launched Kilometer Kids in 2007 with a focus on inspiring Atlanta youth to achieve health and fitness through a fun and supportive running program. Kilometer Kids was designed to empower children with the knowledge they need to make smart lifestyles choices. The program has grown significantly from small beginnings in 2007 and now impacts more than 5,000 children each year in the Atlanta region and beyond.
The VIP tour of CoolRay Field was led by Gwinnett Braves General Manager North Johnson and Assistant General Manager Shari Massengill. The Beat the Streets youth were shown the ins and outs of the entire G-Braves facility including the Executive Suites, Media/Press box, Concessions, Locker rooms, Gym, and Dugouts. Just like professional baseball players, the yout were also allowed to walk through the tunnel and onto the coveted field! A special treat of the tour was when General Manager Johnson challenged each youth to take a few swings in the in-door batting cages.
As part of the experience, the Beat the Streets youth learned about the complexity and all the different jobs it takes on a daily basis to stage an AAA game for the Gwinnett Braves. Coach Brian Snitker who was just promoted to Manager of the Atlanta Braves, also visited with the youth. Coach Snitker spoke about life in the big leagues and spending forty years in the Braves organization.
DJJ would like to thank Gwinnett Braves General Manager North Johnson and Assistant General Manager Shari Massengill for making the Beat the Streets tour possible. For more information on the Gwinnett Braves, visit them at www.gwinnettbraves.com. Learn more about DJJ's Beat the Streets Program at http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/beatthestreets/.