By Susan McCulloch
Youth, volunteers and staff from FaithWorks ministry partners cheered the home team on April 17 as the very special guests of TD Bank Group, a corporate partner to the diocese’s annual appeal since 2004.
TD generously provided the keys to its hospitality suite for the Blue Jays game against the Chicago White Sox at the Rogers Centre. Eighteen guests had a bird’s eye view of the game from seats on the 300 level, along the first base line. TD also provided complimentary popcorn and soft drinks throughout the evening.
Bishop Philip Poole, Co-Chair of the FaithWorks Corporate appeal, was one of the Jays fans in attendance. He enjoyed the chance to relax with his wife, Karen, while getting to know several of the youth who are involved in FaithWorks-funded programs. “This was a terrific opportunity to thank some of the staff and volunteers who provide welcoming, supportive environments for young people,” he said. “It was heartwarming to see the sheer joy and excitement on the faces of the young people attending the Rogers Centre for the first time. We are sincerely grateful to TD for providing such a remarkable evening, and for the hospitality provided by our suite host, Antoinette. The pizza was a real hit.”
The Rev. Helena Houldcroft, executive director of Flemingdon Park Ministry, led Team FaithWorks’ cheering section. One of her guests, Faaiq Ahamat, is the 10-year-old son of a staff member at Flemingdon Park Ministry and a die-hard Blue Jays fan. Ms. Houldcroft described Faaiq’s reaction when he learned he would be attending the game: “Faaiq really hoped he might be able to catch a game ball and told me that if he was successful, he knew he would be too excited to sleep.” Although Faaiq went home without his special prize, he will treasure the memory of his first trip to the majors.
Ken Dryfhout, youth programming director at The Dam, kept the crowd entertained between pitches by sharing his knowledge and love of the game. His favourite player is Jays’ third baseman, Brett Lawrie. “Lawrie is an incredible athlete and one of only 17 Canadians on major league rosters,” said Mr. Dryfhout. “On a style note, I think Lawrie really has something going on.” Mr. Dryfhout, like Mr. Lawrie, proudly displays body art underneath the sleeves of his #13 player’s jersey.
When asked how he enjoyed the game, 11-year-old Miles Antonio responded, “We’ll get them next time.” He added, “Thank you, TD, for inviting us to watch the game. My mom and I had a great time.”
Susan McCulloch is the FaithWorks Campaign Manager.