Went to Jr's field trip today. I didn't know much about it except that the school once again is underfunded and couldn't send an attendant with him so I went along. The permission slip only said that it was a special trip that only a handful of students got chosen for. No problem. Got him all signed up, got myself checked out by the county background checkers to make sure I'm not a hardened criminal and we were off! First thing that was interesting was I was told to dress like a teacher or room assistant. Ok? Then I was asked not to wear my parent/chaperon badge on my shirt. Ok again? When I asked, it turned out this was not just any field trip, it was the 24th Annual Steinbrenner Family Children's Concert at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. An annual tradition started by George Steinbrenner to bring music to underprivileged kids. That was the only part I didn't get. Jr's school picked the kids based on good grades & citizenship in school.
Anywhoo... we got there and were treated to a lovely concert by the Florida Orchestra emceed by John Wilson from the local TV station.
It was wonderful, and as the music played beautiful Christmas carols, I couldn't help but get misty hearing the lilting voices of almost a thousand children from all over the county sweetly singing Jingle Bells.
And it was paid for entirely by the Steinbrenner family. The bus, the tickets, the Straz Center employees.... all of it. Just so some good kids who deserved it could watch a great concert, listen to a baseball great like Tino Martinez read "Twas The Night Before Christmas", & get out of class for the day. In a word...Nice. And it was just for the kids too. I was pretending to be a 'medical attendant' because they specifically said in the letter to the schools that there were to be no parent chaperons. This was solely for the kids. Once again... nice.
And after the concert, the giving wasn't over. As the children filed out of the Straz Center, they walked past the entire Steinbrenner Family and each child got a Yankees duffel bag filled with goodies. Jr got his from Joan Steinbrenner herself. There were DKNY teddy bears, Yankee themed school supplies, a pair of Dri-Fit socks just like the pros wear, and lots more.... oh, and the replica Yankees '99 World Series ring. Baby boy dug through his bag right away and gave his to me. (Such a sweet boy.) When it was all said and done, we got back to school four and a half hours later and I had another great memory with my son.
I'd like to personally thank the Steinbrenner Family for their generosity. It is a wonderful thing they do for the children of Tampa & Hillsborough county by carrying on George Steinbrenner's legacy of giving back.