Our Highlights

Three Cheers for Family Fun!

Our sporting events are some of the most beloved ones that we offer children and families through our Escapes program. Winter, spring, summer and fall, families have the opportunity to attend a number of different games to support their favorite local teams.

By partnering with The Garden of Dreams Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Inc., the NY Islanders and the New Jersey Prudential Center, we sent over 900 children and families to hockey and basketball games last year.

Family Fun Sports

Nicholas and his family

Garden of Dreams, recipient of our 2016 Community Partner award, generously provides us with tickets to various Rangers, Knicks and Liberty games throughout the season. enCourage Kid Nicholas and his family are passionate Rangers fans and are just one of the many enCourage families that have benefited from the generosity of Garden of Dreams.

“Words cannot describe how thankful we are for your extreme kindness and generosity. My son Nicholas loves the Rangers, as our whole family does. We are constantly visiting doctors and hospitals with Nicholas and when we get to go to MSG it is our escape from everything. Nicholas gets so excited at these events that it melts our hearts,” shared dad, Frank.

Family Fun Sports

Photo op with Larry Johnson for Christina and her dad

The Garden of Dreams Foundation goes above and beyond to ensure our families get the best experience at any Madison Square Garden game, providing suite level seating and special meet and greets. At the New York Knicks Dream Night, enCourage kid Christina and dad Tony had the opportunity to meet Knicks alumnus, Larry Johnson, before watching the Knicks take on the Philadelphia 76ers. Something that both wanted to do since they always follow the fantasy basketball rankings in their spare time. “These moments when she attends games is an escape for her and our family. It’s where she can forget about doctor appointments and enjoy herself. This is the best medicine for all of us,” Tony explained.

The NY Islanders Bailey and Tavares Player Program has given a handful of our children a VIP experience, in which they receive ice-level tickets, high-five the players as they enter the rink, and get to meet one of the programs namesakes. For enCourage Kid Jake, it was the best part of his year. “Jake is still smiling from ear to ear!” mom Nonnie told us.

Family Fun Sports

When we de-thaw from the hockey and basketball seasons with some warmer weather, the New York Red Bulls Kicks for Kids Program provides our families tickets to a number of games throughout the soccer season. Last year that number was over 100!

Karen, enCourage mom to Scott and Ryan, loves attending the games with her family. “We are constantly dealing with doctor appointments, blood work and medications. There is always constant worry about what may happen next – but enCourage Kids provides our family with an escape from all of this. Our kids love all sports and when they receive tickets to a Red Bulls game they get so excited! It’s a fun night out, not thinking about anything else but the Red Bulls winning. We get to cheer, have fun and share lots of laughs! It is nice not to think about the hardships for a little while and just enjoy ourselves. Our son in particular really enjoys attending the games. We recently bought him a baseball bag and it’s one of the best on the market according to battersreport! I think that going to the games has inspired him to join a baseball team and have a go himself! I’m not much of a sports person but seeing my kids so happy makes it all worthwhile for me.”

Family Fun Sports

Joshua and his family at the Red Bulls match

This year, a Red Bulls season ticket holder individually donated a handful of tickets to one of our families for the entirety of the season. In a thank you letter to the donor, enCourage kid Joshua wrote, “because of your kindness, I have gotten to see Sacha Kljestan, my favorite Red Bulls midfielder playing live! Moments like that are what remind me to be a 10 1/2 year old no matter what obstacles I face. So I want to personally thank you for a gift that goes beyond seats to a game.”

We could not provide our families with these amazing experiences if it wasn’t for the ungrudging contributions from our partners and donors. Each year, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Inc. provides season tickets to Knicks, Rangers, Yankees and Mets games. We are then able to distribute these tickets to a number of families, fully maximizing the amount of children and families served and giving many of our kids the chance to attend a sports game.

Family Fun Sports

enCourage Kid KE loves attending Yankee games

enCourage Kid Milani and her mom Maria have had the chance to experience a number of Yankees games over the years through our program.

“Life is like baseball – sometimes you strike out and sometimes you hit a home run!” Milani shared. Her words can be understood by any child and family that face health challenges, as there are always ups and downs along the road. Through our sports events and other Escapes, we promote the home runs and encourage all kids to be carefree kids.

Family Fun Sports

enCourage kid Hannah loves her Mets!

Each summer, Mets and Yankees fans alike look forward to what may be one of our most popular Escapes events – enCourage Kids Annual Night at Citi Field. As both an Escapes and fundraising event, Citi Field is a great night of baseball that supports enCourage Kids families and hospital partners. Last year more than 800 people, including 380 enCourage kids and their families, enjoyed an exciting night at the ballpark, including a barbecue in the Bullpen Gate, face painters, clowns, and a special visit by Mr. Met – all while raising $100,000 for our programs!

One of the best parts of the evening is watching a child in our program throw out the first pitch to begin the game. This year, enCourage kid and avid Mets fan Hannah will be doing the honors. Eleven year old Hannah was born with a rare craniofacial syndrome called Treacher Collins Syndrome. In her short lifetime, she has been hospitalized 10 times and has had over 20 surgical procedures. Hannah recently stopped her feeding tube last year and has come a long way from the little girl she once was. Other than her rare syndrome, she is a typical 5th grader enjoying dance, gymnastics, movies, bicycling, swimming and shopping. Her friends have recently told her about these Kids Gymnastics Classes that they attend and wanted Hannah to get involved too. It was nice of them to include her, but she already had a class that she went to, but at least she has some options in case she wants to try something new.

Family Fun Sports

Hannah’s family and our supporters will be cheering her on as she throws out the first pitch!

“Thanks to enCourage Kids our family has enjoyed many special times together. Hannah’s favorite is the Annual Night at Citi Field – we haven’t missed one in 4 years! We love meeting the players’ wives, special guests, and our old friend Looney Lenny who we know from Hannah’s numerous hospital stays at NYU Langone,” Hannah’s dad, Bruce, shared.

Hannah and Bruce have gone to several Mets games courtesy of enCourage Kids. They also attended their first Knicks game through our program where Hannah caught a t-shirt! Hannah follows the Mets every game and is thrilled to be able to throw out the first pitch this year for enCourage Kids. “Thank you again for the opportunity to go to these events and spend quality time with my daughter,” Bruce exclaimed.

Family Fun Sports

Our 14th Annual Night at Citi Field will take place on Wednesday, June 15. The New York Mets will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates with hundreds of enCourage kids, families, and donors in the stands cheering them on.

Purchase tickets today to take part in the fun!

If you can’t make it to the game but still want to get involved, you can help send and enCourage Kids family to this beloved event.

We hope to see you there!

Let’s Go Mets!

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