Derek Jeter’s TURN 2 Foundation Touching Three Cities

By on July 21, 2011

After the conference Derek went to work. Here, he and teammate Robinson Cano, "TURN 2" against Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays won tonight 2-1. (photo by US Presswire/Kim Klement)

Tampa, Fla. (RSEN)–Kalamzoo MI, Tampa FL and New York NY, three cities in different parts of the United States that hold the distinction of being Derek Jeter Turn 2 Foundation cities. Derek Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996 with a main purpose of having young teens make healthy choices and to Turn 2 correct choices when it came to drugs and alcohol. Since its launch, the foundation has awarded more than $12 million in grants.

Jeter, who moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan with his family when he was a young boy, grew up there, finshed at Kalamazoo Central High School where he was a stand-out baseball player.  In 1992 Jeter made his rookie debut after being drafted by the NY Yankees, with GCL (Rookie Gulf Coast League) Yankees where he struggled at the dish batting just .202.  In 1994 Jeter was back in the Tampa Bay area this time in the FSL (Florida State League) with the Tampa Yankees, the NY Yankees single A team.  Jeter batted a hot .329 and quickly moved up to Albany then Columbus.  Before the end of the 1995 Derek Jeter made his debut with the major league NY Yankees and has never looked back.  With the Yankees spring training here in Tampa, Derek has planted some of his roots.  This makes Kalamazoo, Tampa and New York, Derek Jeter Turn 2 Foundation cities.

Today was the closing day of the 2011 Jeter’s Leaders Leadership Conference.  This three day conference was held on the beautiful University of Tampa Campus.  The overview of the conference consisted of workshops that were put together by Jeter’s Leaders, the signature program consisting of high school students in the three cities.   The conference, titled “Social Change, Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Solutions” had workshops focusing on what affects teens most in today’s society.

In historical Fletcher Hall this morning the students were treated to the grand finale.  The youth summit with Derek Jeter was a question – answer session town hall style with a panel of individuals that screamed, look at the role models here!  Anchoring the panel to the students’ right was the founder of the Turn 2 Foundation, Derek himself.  To Derek’s right was the esteemed Mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Bobby Hopewell. The panel was rounded out with Greg Jennings of the Green Bay Packers, Tino Martinez (former NY Yankee), Sister Souljah (Best-selling author) and Gerald Williams (former NY Yankee).

Mayor Hopewell, Jeter and Greg Jennings each a proud alum of Kalamazoo Central.  Martinez and Williams being not only former Jeter teammates but close

The All-Kalamazoo Central Alumni from left, Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Derek Jeter and Greg Jennings. (photo by Damon Gonzalez, LatinBox Communications)

friends of Derek.  Sister Souljah, a best-selling author coupled with numerous prestigious accomplishments, was born and raised in the Bronx, NY projects.  Souljah, from the projects graduated from Rutgers University and attended Cornell University.

The student took turns asking the panel a variety of questions ranging from past challenges the panel members may dealt with to present day advice.

After the questions-answer session the students were excused to lunch and the members of the media that were present had the pleasure to chat with the panel members.  Derek Jeter was asked to talk about gratifying it must be to have such a panel with him today.  Jeter said, “It is gratifying you know people who take time out of their schedule to come here and help out my foundation.  I really appreciate it, some people I know and other people I don’t, I didn’t know coming into this, and with-out hesitation they came and took time out of their schedule to help so it makes us feel like with are doing some positive things.”

I asked Mayor Hopewell about the positives about having the Turn 2 Foundation in Kalamazoo (the smallest Foundation city) especially with the economic conditions in the great state of Michigan.  Mayor Hopewell responded, “It interesting we are blessed with so many things and having Derek and the Turn 2 Foundation in our community is huge, the smallest community but his home community. The young people’s involvement we know with that the way the economy the way it is volunteerism has to happen.  These young people are involved in all kinds of aspects of helping our city and our overall community grow and develop.  They are involved with other young people; they’re involved with seniors…. For me, we have to have that now… with the journey that we have in our city with the Kalamzoo Promise, the civics own sending so many young people to college for free.   This just adds to that journey we have talked in our community so much about how we get kids to the promise, well Jeter’s Leaders is about that. It’s about their journey to that opportunity to become world ready and that going to make us a better community and state in the long run because we know the challenges are huge.  And we are going need all the brilliance the leaders bring to face those challenges.”

I asked a young lady, Sa-Niqua, a Junior Leader from Kalamazoo about the positives for the Turn 2 Foundation, she said, “By helping me volunteer in the community more. Making it so I can be a better role model to my peer.  I got to experience a lot of college tours, leadership roles.” I went on to ask Sa-Niqua how the Foundation has helped the City of Kalamazoo economically.  She said, “Well, they provide the leaders with internship and we get paid through Jeter’s Leaders so we won’t be jobless.”

Sa-Niqua has just finished high school and she informed me she is going to Michigan State University.  I asked her if she was going to wear the Sparty hat and she said, “Yes!”

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