Thursday, August 9, 2012



Just a couple months ago, on June 1st, The Hamels Foundation presented a check to Bayard Taylor Elementary School $300,000 for a complete outdoor renovation. For over 100 years, this place used to look like an empty parking lot and now, there is a state of the art playground by Kompan,

a greenhouse with raised bed garden by Rock N' Renew (sponsored by Olitsky Family Foundation), an iPad/Tech learning center (sponsored by Wells Fargo), a chess/checker station (also sponsored by Wells Fargo), a soccer field, and so much more! In Philadelphia alone,
Yesterday, I headed over to the Hunting Park where the Bayard Taylor Elementary School is located. An area which has hit hard times, but yesterday was full of busy people working towards the future, the kids future. Nothing like a beautiful playground, and a larger than life mural with one of your role models on it, to make playtime fun and create dreams of the future.

100's of volunteers came out to put the finishing touches on the playground.  Hamels Foundation Board member Jimmy Maransky

rallies over the Community Day Volunteers from Greater Media Philadelphia and Wells Fargo at the start of the day. (Maransky is a real estate developer and broker who specializes in environmentally-conscious new construction.)

Among those who helped out were Heidi and Cole Hamels. At one point someone asked Cole if he'd like to do the digging, and he said believe it or not Heidi is best at this job since picking up these skills on the TV show Survivor a few years back.


No one was more enthusiastic than the principal, Debra Drossner, who watched her dream come true, a concept she and Heidi worked on together; a safe place for the kids to play, something that encourages kids to look forward to going to school, the foundation to a community.  She's a great cheerleader of kids. For the Hamels this was a no brainer way to help kids as Heidi was once a gym school teacher and well Cole, he's a mighty fine athlete.

Cole and Heidi help out with the finishing touches on the mural
which was created by Kien Nguygn, Jane Golden, executive director of the Mural Arts Program, and Efrain Herrea

It's pretty, safe and soft: The playground is environmentally friendly, synthetic turf playground flooring, which has a much lower upkeep, soft tile playground surfaces, and adds color to what would normally be a blacktop tar material.

At one point during the day Cole came across this young student, Jerry Aponte who challenged the ace pitcher to a game of checkers which is permanently located in the yard.

In the end, the ace pitcher cleaned up the board, with Cole telling the young boy, a year of practicing you'll be able to beat me.
There's an an iPad/Tech learning center (sponsored by Wells Fargo)

There's a rock climbing cube.
a greenhouse (sponsored by The Olitsky Family Foundation) where kids can grow their own vegetables, tend to plants and learn about agriculture, right there in the big city.

Cole Hamels affixes a sign to the basketball backboard.  He told me that when he was in high school he was never able to dunk a ball even though he was very tall.
Currently, there are 565 students enrolled in grades K-5 and there are no playgrounds or safe outdoor centers within a 10-block radius.
Denise Wine from Wells Fargo presents an additional $25,000 to The Hamels Foundation. This money goes toward the Bayard Taylor Elementary School. The Hamels Foundation plans to do help out many more schools in the future, and now that this charitable couple is here for at least the next 6 years, we can look forward to a lot of good deeds to come. 

The Hamels Foundation has donated over $660,000 to over 20 public schools. By the end of 2012, The Hamels Foundation will have donated over 1.8 million dollars worldwide to improve education for kids not only here in the states, but in Malawi Africa.

To help, text the word HAMELS to 20222 to donate $5

For more information, visit