My retirement from baseball has been an occasion to reflect on my time as a player, and obviously it was an awesome honor to be part of such a successful team. The Giants are an incredible organization. Not only did I enjoy the fruits of my labor from three World Championships, I also got to enjoy the fruits of being an athlete serving in a great community. The Giants community relations people arranged a lot of opportunities for me to serve.
One of my earliest community experiences was with Larkin Street Youth Services, who have been partnered with the Giants for awhile. The opportunity to serve there was exactly what I wanted. I got to hang out with kids who had been abandoned. They’d been pushed out and kicked out and they had nowhere to go. Maybe it was because of some of the choices they made, and maybe it was because of some of the choices that other people made for them. Either way, these were kids who had been forced onto the streets. Larkin Street takes these kids in and educates them.
I was able to get to know the men and women that represent Larkin Street, both staff and board members, and I learned their hearts for endangered and homeless youth. I got to be part of a couple of their functions and spend time in their offices. I was also invited to go to a barbecue with a few of the kids.
It was really great to be part of the graduation ceremonies a couple of times. The first time was so awesome. They let me be part of keynoting a graduation ceremony for kids that went on to City College, and a couple of other colleges. Those kids started on the streets, and when Larkin Street brought them in, they put aside their anger and put their energy into what Larkin Street was trying to do for them. Now they are in college and creating jobs for themselves. I got to be a part of that. I got to speak into their lives. I just got to love on those kids.
I was also given the opportunity to work with Peet’s Coffee. Obviously they do business outside of the Bay Area, but they’re a local company. Peet’s is a big sponsor of the Giants. They have a cafe in left center where fans can go for coffee. I got to know their staff, and hang out with the Master Roaster and go to the Roastery and learn how things are done. I got to do all that because I was Giant, but they also wanted to learn my heart. They listened to my heart for building servant leaders, and for serving in areas of poverty. They got to know me, and I got to understand who they are, and the heart behind the company. It’s been great to do stuff with Peet’s.
My experience with Peet’s allowed me to see that even major corporations have such good, good hearts for the community. To be part of community service projects with a company of that calibre, and to personally get to know the people involved, was just so great. I got in because I was a Giant. But that’s how I got into a lot of different places. The Giants helped me get my foot in the door, and once in, I could actually learn the hearts of the people that run these organizations, and know that they are community-driven. To be able to see that was pretty awesome.
More on this next time. See you Monday.