Jeter’s Leaders Celebrate Holidays at Yankee Stadium

Howard Goldin

Bronx, NY---The New York Yankees headline of today will surely be Alex Rodriguez’s displeasure with how his arbitration hearing is being run. An event that took place at Yankee Stadium today received much less media attention but will have much greater long-term benefit to many young people.

In the basement of Yankee Stadium today, three dozen teenagers, who belong to the Turn 2 Foundation, Inc., were packing more than 1,000 gift bags to be distributed to younger children during the upcoming holiday season. The items being packed were donated by the New York Yankees and other sponsors of the foundation founded by Derek Jeter and members of his immediate family in 1996, his first full season in the majors.

The youngsters were assisted and supervised by Turn 2 President Sharlee Jeter, the sister of Derek, and the NYY Marketing Department headed by Senior Vice President Debbie Tymon who has always been a participant of the organization’s positive activities.

The dedicated efforts made by the teenagers on Wednesday are indicative of words in the Turn 2 Foundation’s Mission Statement being lived up to “Create outlets that promote and reward academic excellence, leadership development and positive behavior.”

Caric, a teenager who attends the Bedford Academy in Brooklyn and whose grandmother only lives a few blocks from Yankee Stadium, spoke of his pleasure in preparing the gift bags, “I can only imagine the smiles they’ll [the children] have on their faces, which I feel is a sign of hope. ” The personable and articulate teenager was attracted to joining the foundation when representatives did an information session at his high school last year.

Among the beneficial work the young man has done in the past two years is mentoring children between the ages of 8 and 12 at a school near his residence. He also spoke with enthusiasm of the advice he has been given for selecting a suitable college to attend. He spoke with great joy of the party that the teenagers would attend later in the evening at Yankee Stadium as he so well remembered the one from the previous year.

Other words of the Turn 2 Mission Statement, “Grow safely and successfully into adulthood and become the leaders of tomorrow’” were validated by the presence of Sharlee Jeter. Although the sister of Derek, her first job with the foundation was as a volunteer in 1996, when she was a high school student. She interned while in college and began a full-time position after her college graduation. 

Of her current position as president, she commented, “It’s very rewarding to follow in my dad’s footsteps.” That she and her brother and her parents are all involved seems natural to her, “We’ve always been a really close family. My parents never missed anything. They were always there”

She also gives credit to her parents for her and her brother’s attitude of giving to others, “It’s something that our parents instilled in us, ‘Work hard and give to others. If you get a lot, give a lot.’”

She explained that her brother was a fan of Dave Winfield, who had a foundation that aided children and when he [Jeter] later reached the majors, he emulated what Winfield had earlier done. Even for that, she praised her parents, “They made sure we had positive role models.”

The mother of a baby boy in 2013, Ms. Jeter said she was able to handle both responsibilities because of “a lot of family support.” She also mentioned that being the mother of a newborn child “puts in perspective what you do with the foundation.”

Ms. Jeter told of the support she receives from the staff, many of them alums of the program. One example is Lesley Gaudio, a young woman from the Bronx who is the Director of Development and Events. She was a member of Jeter’s Leaders in 2004, later interned and moved up to positions of greater responsibility after her graduation from Fordham University.

To anyone reading this article who wishes to contribute, volunteer or obtain information regarding the Turn 2 Foundation, you can write to Turn 2 Foundation, Inc. 215 Park Ave. South, Suite 1905, New York NY 10003 or call (212) 475-2399 or email mail@turn2foundation.org