Flores, Gilmartin take part in Reading Rally

Flores, Gilmartin take part in Reading Rally

NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores and Sean Gilmartin were given heroes' welcomes when they visited P.S. 92 in Corona on Tuesday morning to promote literacy and an educational work ethic.

The Read Along program has paired the Mets and the school for 15 years and is what principal Pasquale Baratta called "a natural partnership."

"Sincerely, they are really good to our kids," Baratta said. "They've been very supportive of us, and they definitely keep us part of their year."

Mets employees volunteer as reading mentors and devote an hour each week to help students with different aspects of reading. Throughout the year, students in the program get a tour of Citi Field and tickets to a game.

Flores and Gilmartin were up early after Monday's 14-inning win to appear at the program's Reading Rally. They answered questions and assisted in readings of such children's books as Corduroy before a gymnasium full of third, fourth and fifth graders.

"It's special. Any time you're doing something with the kids, it's really cool," said Flores, who was a huge hit with the mostly Spanish-speaking student body. "For them, you see somebody that you look up to, somebody that plays for the Mets, you say 'Wow!' and think it's really cool to have them here. For me, it makes me happy to help them, especially when they are learning something."

During the Reading Rally, mentors and students were honored by their classmates for becoming part of the program. Other players who have participated in the program are Josh Edgin, LaTroy Hawkins, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Bobby Parnell and Daniel Murphy.

"It was really cool to participate, and it's always nice to give back to the community," said Gilmartin, who is in his first season with New York. "Every time you have somebody in our position who goes out and gives back to the community in any way possible, you get positive feedback."

Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.