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2009 Turn 2 Holiday Express is a success

Jeter and his Leaders spread cheer throughout the holiday season

By Jason, New York Jeter's Leaders member since 2008; Victoria, Amy and Fatima, NY members since 2009; Gavin, Kalamazoo member since 2007; and Myles, Kalamazoo member since 2009

•  Gift Preparations Watch  
•  Holiday Express: Kalamazoo Watch  
•  Holiday Express: St. John's Watch  
•  Holiday Express: Bowling Watch  

In December, Derek Jeter and the New York and Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders hosted the 2009 Turn 2 Holiday Express for the Turn 2 Foundation's Signature Programs. Six holiday parties and two gift-wrapping sessions made up the entire event which lasted over the course of the month. More than 1,000 gift bags were distributed to children in New York City, Tampa, FL, and West Michigan. The Holiday Express was created by Turn 2 to reward children in its Signature Programs who demonstrate academic achievement, positive behavior, healthy lifestyles, and leadership qualities in school and their communities.

The New York Jeter's Leaders started this year's Holiday Express on December 3 at Yankee Stadium. They assembled and wrapped 750 gifts for the Foundation's younger children in New York City and Tampa, Fla. Tables were lined with boxes holding a variety of gifts donated by Turn 2's sponsors and the New York Yankees. The New York Leaders had to unpack the items and place them into the Jeter backpacks which were going to the kids. Derek even made a special appearance to help the Leaders pack up the gifts! As the assembling of gift bags continued, the Leaders commented on how exciting it was going to be to give the gifts to the children later in the month. "Working together as Jeter's Leaders was a great bonding experience, especially for me being a freshman in the program, said Victoria. "It's great to know how it finally feels to fulfill the duties of a Jeter's Leader."

After their hard work the Leaders were surprised with a party in the Delta Sky 360 Suite overlooking Yankee Stadium. The group was in awe as they saw the Turn 2 Foundation and Jeter's Leaders logos shining on the screens throughout the stadium. They also enjoyed the Christmas tree on the pitcher's mound! The group was in for a special treat when the Yankees brought out the 2009 World Series trophy and allowed the Leaders to take pictures with it. They had a blast talking with Derek about school, the holidays and future aspirations. To end the evening, Derek and Turn 2 gave the Leaders gift bags of their own, rewarding them for their hard work and dedication to the program.

Next up was the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders gift-wrapping and holiday party. On December 5, the Leaders met at the Radisson Hotel to wrap more than 250 gifts bags for the children in Kalamazoo's Signature Programs. As in New York, the Leaders created an assembly line and stuffed goodies from the Yankees and Turn 2 sponsors into Jeter backpacks for the big event later in the week at Kalamazoo's Air Zoo. "This was a great activity for team building because the older and new leaders got to know each other better," said Gavin, a third-year Jeter's Leader. It was a lot of fun."

On December 8, Derek headed to the Air Zoo in West Michigan to host the big Holiday Express party with the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders for the Kalamazoo Signature Programs. The Leaders awaited their young guests who were unaware that Derek would be joining them later in the evening. Bus after bus arrived filled with children, all excited and ready for the party. Programs included Turn 2's Youth In Action, Proud to Be Me-Washington, TRAM-Extra Innings at Derek's Dugout, Proud to Be Me-Douglass, Girls on the Run, and the participants of the Kalamazoo Baseball Clinics. Other invited groups included participants of the Kalamazoo Boys & Girls Club and the Douglass Community Association. Members of the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders Alumni Program also attended, making the party even more memorable. Everyone enjoyed a private party where they had an all-access pass to aviation rides and games and enjoyed an unlimited buffet-style dinner throughout the night.

As the party came to a close, the Jeter's Leaders and Alumni gathered the children for a special presentation. Seconds later, Derek came through the door and surprised all of the children! He wished them a happy holiday and told them that he had gifts to give them. The Leaders led the ecstatic children to say hello to Derek where he sat alongside Santa and Mrs. Claus. One by one, Derek wished each child happy holidays, and sent them on their way with a gift bag. The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders were very proud to be able to host such a special night for all of the children of the Turn 2 Programs in Kalamazoo. First year Jeter's Leaders member Myles was astounded by the event. "It was one of the best days in my life! From meeting Derek for the first time, to working with the younger kids, it was magnificent! I couldn't have asked for anything more."

It was time for the Holiday Express to head back to New York. After hearing about the success of the Kalamazoo event and that the gifts had arrived in Tampa at the St. Peter Claver Catholic School, the New York Jeter's Leaders were ready to host five holiday parties for each of the Foundation's Signature Programs in New York.

The first holiday party was on December 16 at Harlem Lanes in Manhattan for the Turn 2 Us program. The afternoon started with the New York Jeter's Leaders and Alumni chatting with the children about school and their plans during their holiday break. After a few hours of bowling and pizza, the Leaders told the children that they were happy to be spending time with them and wished everyone a happy holiday. The Leaders then introduced a special video from someone else who wanted to wish them holiday cheer -- Derek! Faces began to glow with excitement as they watched the video that Derek made for them. Although he was not able to attend, Derek wanted the children to know that he was happy to have every one of them be a part of Turn 2 and that his special helpers, the Jeter's Leaders, had assisted him in preparing gifts for each participant. After all of the season's greetings, the children lined up and were given a gift from the Jeter's Leaders as they said goodbye. "I think it was a great experience for us as Jeter's Leaders and for the Turn 2 kids as young, rising leaders, said Victoria. "This function has helped us grow and see the goal of the Jeter's Leaders Program and the Turn 2 Foundation."

The Holiday Express continued throughout New York City over the next few days at the St. John's, Sorrentino, St. James and Jackie Robinson Turn 2 After School Programs. Each site hosted a carnival-themed party with face painting, inflatable obstacle courses, games, prizes and lots of food. The Jeter's Leaders attended all of the parties to help with the games, mingle and play with the children, and again, serve as Derek's elves to deliver special holiday greetings and gifts. Members of the Jeter's Leaders Alumni program were also on site at the parties. "Holiday spirits were high, and it was a great way to come back and interact with my Jeter's Leaders family," said Darlene Reid, who graduated from the program in 2009 and currently attends Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Second-year Leader Jason summed up his experience. "It was great to see the kids overwhelmed with joy and to know that we were spreading an awesome message. The party was a great experience for us to reward the young Turn 2 kids for being good examples of leaders and a way for us Leaders to be role models to our future leaders."

Derek hosts Turn 2 Foundation Holiday Express

Derek Jeter turns to Bravo! Restaurant and Cafe and the Air Zoo to host 250 Kalamazoo-area children at the Turn 2 Foundation Holiday Express Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2009

This year, Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees brought holiday cheer to 250 West Michigan children involved in Derek's Turn 2 Foundation's Signature Programs. The Turn 2 Foundation Holiday Express 2009 was held at the Air Zoo in Portage, Michigan on Tuesday, December 8, 2009. Local sponsors of this year's event included the Air Zoo and Bravo! Restaurant and Café. The children enjoyed a private holiday party, hosted by the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders, in the interactive aviation museum followed by a surprise visit from Derek and Santa. Each child received a special holiday gift bag generously donated by the New York Yankees and sponsors of the Turn 2 Foundation.

Earlier in the evening, the New York Yankee Captain and shortstop, spread awareness in the Kalamazoo area about the work of his Turn 2 Foundation at Bravo! Restaurant and Café. Ann & Don Parfet and Carol & Phil Carra with the Jeter Family hosted over 100 guests at a private event that included an information session about Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation.

Bravo! Restaurant and Café owners, Ann and Don Parfet, received the Turn 2 MVP Award at the 13th Annual Derek Jeter Turn 2 Foundation Dinner on June 26, 2009 in New York City, acknowledging their tremendous impact on The Turn 2 Foundation by writing the first corporate grant when the Foundation was launched in 1996. Carol & Phil Carra are long time friends and supporters of the Jeter Family and Phil Carra is an active member of the Turn 2 Foundation's Resource Council.

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

Derek started the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996, his rookie year. Turn 2 has awarded more than $10 million in grants to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to "Turn 2" healthy lifestyles. Through these ventures, the Foundation strives to create outlets for children to achieve academic excellence, develop leadership skills and remain drug and alcohol free. These programs all share the same goal of helping today's youth become the leaders of tomorrow. The Jeter's Leaders are students recognized for their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community service, who are responsible for delivering a positive message to their peers.

To learn more about the Turn 2 Foundation, please visit us at

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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