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Turn 2 Holiday Express 2008

•  Gift Preparations Watch  
•  Holiday Express Watch  
•  Holiday Express — New York
•  Holiday Express — Kalamazoo

Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees helped more than 1,000 children from New York City, West Michigan and Tampa, Fla. celebrate the Holidays! The Turn 2 Holiday Express is one of the activities created by Derek's Turn 2 Foundation to reward children involved in Turn 2's Signature Programs and who are demonstrating positive behavior, academic excellence and leadership qualities in school and in their communities.

On Dec. 3, 2008, the New York Jeter's Leaders assembled approximately 1,000 gift bags at their annual holiday gift-wrapping at Yankee Stadium. These gift bags contained items generously donated by the New York Yankees and sponsors of the Turn 2 Foundation. The Jeter's Leaders are high school students recognized for their academic achievements, extracurricular activities and community service and who are responsible for delivering a positive message to their peers.

"This year's event was the last held at the old Yankee Stadium. All members of the Jeter's Leaders Program, as well as Turn 2's Queen of Peace Scholars, participated by packing Yankees backpacks filled with gifts commemorating the last season at Yankee Stadium. Most participants were busy putting together the backpacks, while others were responsible for stuffing holiday cards that would be delivered to the children who participated in the Turn 2 Foundation's 2008 Baseball Clinics. The Leaders and Queen of Peace Scholars created assembly Lines to fill the backpacks quickly and efficiently. Some Leaders had the opportunity to speak to the media about what the event meant to them and what it meant to the kids who would receive the gift bags. A DJ was also on hand to fill the area with holiday spirit. After all the jobs were finished, everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner." - Nadine, New York Jeter's Leader

To celebrate the holidays, the Jeter's Leaders organized a gift-giving campaign for their peers and younger youth, instead of receiving holiday gifts from the program. The Jeter's Leaders researched groups that they were interested in supporting and gathered wish lists from programs in Kalamazoo and New York, and then the Jeter's Leaders went holiday shopping for the children.

"Upon arrival at the store, the Leaders took off for the toy section to find the gifts on their child's wish list! Some of the gifts they bought included tinker toys, stuffed animals, books and clothes. The store set up a special lane just for our purchases. After all of the gifts were purchased, the Leaders headed back for a group dinner. We met at Western Michigan University to wrap and prepare the gifts to be dropped off for the Head Start students. It was a truly great feeling for the Leaders to be taking part in such a great gift-giving project and to make holiday wishes come true for deserving children of the Kalamazoo community." - Terryn, Kalamazoo Jeter's Leader

On Dec. 16, 2008, the Turn 2 Foundation hosted its annual Holiday Express for all of the Kalamazoo Signature Programs participants at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo. The Jeter's Leaders helped to set up all of the decorations, arrange the activities and prepare the gifts for the younger students. Adorned in Holiday Express t-shirts and elf hats, the Jeter's Leaders were Santa's helpers!

"After everything was in place, the buses arrived, full of excited children. The place was packed! The Jeter's Leaders and the children enjoyed the many exciting Air Zoo rides and attractions throughout the night. All of the groups also enjoyed a delicious holiday dinner. The event was so much fun that most of the attendees couldn't believe that the time had passed so fast. Before leaving, there was a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Everyone received a Turn 2 Holiday gift bag. On the way out of the Air Zoo, there was a group picture taken so that everyone would remember the special night." - Dominique, Kalamazoo Jeter's Leader

Derek and Santa brought Holiday cheer to the children who are part of the Foundation's New York Signature Programs at Wollman Rink in Central Park on Monday, Dec. 22, 2008. The children enjoyed a private evening of ice skating followed by a surprise visit from Derek, Santa, and his elves -- the New York Jeter's Leaders.

"The evening started with buses of students being led from each program site through the city and into the rink by police escorts. The Jeter's Leaders guided groups of children to the skating rink and helped them put on their skates. Some kids were a little timid, while others were quite animated getting on the ice for their first time. At the end of the night, everyone lined up and Derek, along with Santa Claus, said hello to each child and individually handed them a Turn 2 gift bag that contained great gifts. All of the children were ecstatic!" - Nazir, New York Jeter's Leader

Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $23 million to create and support signature programs that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "Turn 2" healthy lifestyles. Learn more »

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