Curtis Granderson took a break from catching baseballs in the outfield last week to catch school supplies in backpacks while taking part in a back-to-school leadership adventure with his Grand Kids Foundation.
The event at PricewaterhouseCoopers on Wednesday morning supported the Volunteers of America's Operation Backpack program. The All-Star outfielder and 150 college students filled more than 250 backpacks that will go to children in homeless and domestic-violence shelters.
The students, who enjoyed testing Granderson's skills by tossing supplies for the outfielder to catch in the backpacks, were candidates for PricewaterhouseCoopers' 2013 internship program. They also serve as ambassadors for the Grand Kids Foundation.
The Grand Kids Foundation, which focuses on inner-city education and reviving baseball in inner cities, was established in 2007 while Granderson was a member of the Tigers. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded $80,000 in grants to schools and educational programs across the country.
"Education was always a very important cornerstone in my family," said Granderson, who earned degrees in both business management and business marketing at the University of Illinois-Chicago. "My mom and dad are recently retired educators, and my sister currently teaches English at Jackson State University."
In addition to his work with his foundation, Granderson is also the official MLB spokesperson for First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move anti-obesity campaign and is very active with the Players Association's charitable arm, the Players Trust.
"One of our union initiatives is the Players Trust which deals with Volunteers of America. The cool thing about [giving back] is it [doesn't] matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter how much money you have, you still have the ability to help those in need."
Prior to the backpack stuffing, the students enjoyed a Let's Move-inspired breakfast. More than 1,000 donated bananas were provided with the remainder going to City Harvest, an organization dedicated to feeding New York City's hungry.
After helping to box up the backpacks, smiling for some final pictures and dancing the "Cupid Shuffle" with the energetic students, Granderson was off to Yankee Stadium for that afternoon's game.