The Yankees kicked off their seventh annual HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) on Monday, August 17, with the story of Chris Singleton. Currently a baseball player at Charleston Southern University, Chris was a normal student and college athlete when tragedy forever changed his life. His mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (pictured with Chris), 45 – a minister at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., and speech pathologist and girls track coach at Goose Creek High School – was among the nine parishioners who lost their lives in a premeditated hate crime at the church this past June. Following a memorial at his former high school the day after the shooting, Chris said about the perpetrator, “We already forgive him for what he’s done. There’s nothing but love from our side of the family.” Chris’ positivity has galvanized a community. Despite losing the only parent who took an active role in his life, he continues to radiate wisdom beyond his 19 years. On Twitter on July 22 — more than a month after the tragedy — he posted, “The good outweighs the bad even on your worst days.”
Chris, along with his sister Camryn, 15, his brother Caleb, 12, and his college baseball coach and mentor, Stuart Lake, of Charleston Southern University, were surprised on Monday morning on the set of the TODAY Show in Rockefeller Center by Yankees players Dellin Betances, Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. He was then joined at One World Observatory for a private tour and lunch by Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Willie Randolph, Masahiro Tanaka, Justin Wilson and Chris Young before returning to Yankee Stadium where he took part in batting practice with the team, exchanged lineup cards with the umpires and threw out the first pitch.
Photos Courtesy of the New York Yankees