STATEN ISLAND- Introduced in 2009 and heading into its ninth year in 2017, the New York Yankees' HOPE Week initiative (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) is rooted in the fundamental belief that acts of goodwill provide hope and encouragement to more than just the recipient of the gesture. The Staten Island Yankees adopted the parent club's initiative in 2011 and carry the tradition into 2017 for a seventh season. Beginning on Thursday, Aug. 31, Staten Island Yankees players, front office staff and Scooter the Holy Cow will recognize the efforts of an outstanding individual in the community as well as showing support to groups around us in need. Below is the schedule of events for the Staten Island Yankees HOPE Week:
Thursday, Aug. 31: Eric Rosen is an honorary Staten Island Yankee for a day.
Eric Rosen was diagnosed with autism as a child, but with the help of his mother Ilene, he never let that slow him down. Now at the age of 32, Eric is graduate of St. John's University, has two shows on Community Television, "The Blitz Zone" and "Eric's View", works at Eden II Programs, and serves as a role model for those learning to live with autism. Eric will join the Baby Bombers for their doubleheader against the Connecticut Tigers as an honorary Staten Island Yankee for a day. See below for Eric's bio.
Friday, Sept. 1: Richard H. Hungerford School takes a trot around the bases for Home Run for Life.
The Hungerford School for students with special needs helps students develop to their maximum potential and functional levels by providing them with essential social, emotional, language, technological and academic skills. As part of a long-standing relationship with the Hungerford School and the Staten Island Yankees, students come to the ballpark several times a week throughout the year to assist with mailings, stadium clean-up and other miscellaneous tasks. During the Staten Island Yankees game against the Connecticut Tigers, the Baby Bombers will recognize the students with an in-game Home Run for Life.
More about HOPE Week: At its core, HOPE Week is about people helping people. The one thing everybody has - no matter where they come from, what their financial situation is or what kind of skills they possess - is time. By involving players and front office staff during the celebration of HOPE Week, the entire New York Yankees organization is sending the message that everyone can give of themselves to make our community a better place. For more information about HOPE Week, visit hopeweek.com.
The Staten Island Yankees are the Single A-Short Season Affiliate of the New York Yankees and play at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. The Staten Island Yankees are six-time New York-Penn League Champions (2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011). For more information, visit siyanks.com.
Born on August 16, 1985, Eric Rosen appeared as healthy and as normal a child as any other. Unbeknownst to both his doctors and parents, he was not. As with most children born within the autism spectrum, Eric displayed normal cognitive functions until about his second year, when he began to slowly withdraw and shut himself away from his family and the world. Once he was diagnosed, his parents, most notably his mother, Ilene, went to work immediately to find everything available to help her son. At that time, resources were even less accessible than they are today, but if it existed, Ilene would find it and make sure that Eric would make good use of it. She was determined to help her son overcome this baffling and life changing disorder. As his parents soon found out, autism has just as much a profound effect on the families of those afflicted as it does on the person who is diagnosed.
Eric was enrolled at the Volunteers of America - Early Learning Center in Tottenville at the age of three. With the dedicated help of the entire staff, Eric began to take his first steps out from under this cloud that enveloped him. Physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and the learning of basic life skills, were many of the regimens that started early and continued throughout his young life. Along with school came many extra-curricular forms of stimulus such as On Your Mark, the JCC, additional private tutoring that included speech and occupational therapy, and a program called Parents as Partners given by a young autism advocate and the future Executive Director of the Eden II programs, Joanne Gerenser. It was an important time for Eric, as he was beginning to show positive progress that came as a result of hours and hours of hard work and dedication from all of those who contributed to his therapies as well as his family and of course, Eric himself.
As the years progressed, Eric began to exhibit a higher level of cognition than anyone had expected, which led to the decision to send him into the Staten Island public school system. At first, Eric had a difficult time adjusting to the public school setting, but in time, he adapted well and began to flourish. Graduating from P.S 4 to P.S 36 to I.S 7 it came time to decide on a high school. It was apparent that Eric had exhibited both a high enough level of academic prowess and appropriate behavioral skills to qualify him for a unique program called REACH, given at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn.
The way he performed there made it apparent that attending college was a definite possibility. During his time in high school, Eric had been a member of the orchestra, the varsity swim team, the model U.N., and ultimately graduated in the top ten of the entire senior class. He received an award for academics at their graduation ceremonies at Brooklyn College and was ultimately accepted at St. John's University with an academic scholarship. While at St. John's, Eric worked in the Student Life office, joined a fraternity, acted in their theater group, The Stagers, and continued his academic achievements by graduating Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Political Science.
Today, Eric works in the Human Resources Department at Eden II Programs. Eric is thrilled to have his own sports show "The Blitz Zone" and another show called "Eric's View" on CTV (Community Television) and is hoping some day to be a co-host on a sports show on ESPN. His achievements have been truly remarkable and by overcoming so many challenging obstacles, Eric stands as an example of hope and unlimited potential to all whose lives have been so profoundly affected by autism.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.