This summer, young people at YouthCare received an exciting invite from Starbucks and the Mariners to attend a baseball and softball clinic with the legendary Félix Hernández. Arriving at the playfield in Columbia City, youth were greeted with a fun setup of giant mobile batting cages, field games, the iconic Mariner Moose, and Starbucks cake pops! 

Mariners staff coached youth inside the mobile batting cages and ran drills out on the field, while the Mariner Moose posed for selfies and brought laughter and smiles to everyone. Hats, baseball gloves, shirts, books, and lunches were generously gifted by Starbucks and the Mariners to everyone present. 

Félix Hernández signed shirts and books, took dozens of photos with youth and staff – and most exciting of all – pitched for the youth’s softball game! His incredible career with the Mariners was recognized the day after this event by his induction into the Mariner’s Hall of Fame. YouthCare was honored to have him take time to join this event for our youth right before such an important event!  

We are so grateful for the generous and supportive partnership of Starbucks and the Mariners in hosting this event for our young people. Their community leadership stands out in moments like this that create memorable experiences and opportunities for youth who are experiencing the difficulties of housing insecurity.  

Lindsey Derry, Starbucks Vice President of Brand & Partnership Marketing said, “The work to end youth homelessness in our hometown of Seattle is vital and urgent, and we were proud to support the efforts of the YouthCare team through this event. Alongside the Seattle Mariners, we are committed to uplifting communities in need in SoDo and across the city.”  

Group photo with Mariner Moose and starbucks staff

Seattle Mariners Director of Community Relations and Mariners Foundation, Nova Newcomer, also noted how important it is for their team to focus on young people in need: “A primary pillar in the Mariners Mission is to Serve our Communities, [and] that doesn’t change no matter how big the moment is on the field. We put that mission into action during the Félix Hernández Hall of Fame Weekend by partnering with Starbucks and YouthCare to provide local children access to a free baseball and softball clinic, hosted by the newly inducted Hall of Famer King Félix himself.”  

Felix Hernandez, Mariner Moose and Mariner staff talk to clinic participants

As the event came to a close, staff and youth sat in a circle to eat sandwiches and cake pops provided by Starbucks. There was excited talk about how incredible the morning was, and how kind and humble Félix and our hosts were to every young person that showed up. Everyone walked away in yellow “King Félix” t-shirts, signed Mariners hats and gloves, and with a new appreciation for baseball! 

With dedication and community, we can together create memories that make a lasting impact on young lives. Starbucks, the Mariners, and Félix Hernández put their mission into action, indeed, with this generous event that brought joy and excitement to YouthCare’s young people.  

Congratulations to Félix for being inducted into the Mariner’s Hall of Fame, and thank you, Starbucks and the Mariners for your generosity and a day that we will remember for a lifetime!  

Group photo with YouthCare staff and Felix Hernandez