05/04/2011
My Voice My Community
12-year-old Jason Diaz throws first pitch at NID Night at the Phillies

Need in Deed phans go wild!

What does it feel like to walk out onto the field at Citizens Bank Park to throw out the first pitch accompanied by the yelps and hollers of 45,000 ramped up fans? We asked 12-year-old Jason Diaz, a 6th grade student in Jackie Burke's class at Conwell Middle School, and here's what he had to say:

"It was pretty exciting. I got to throw it to the Phanatic. I could have thrown it a lot harder but I thought they'd ask me to throw it again."

Jason was second baseman in a neighborhood baseball team last year. He lives in Kensington and is the youngest of seven; his mother, father and best friend accompanied him to the game, where they were seated directly behind home plate.

"The grass felt soft," Jason added in describing the experience.

Did he practice for this moment? "Nope."

Jason earned the privilege of this special moment by writing an essay describing his NID project. His was chosen as the most deserving. In it he wrote about his class' project on homelessness.

"I feel that Need in Deed has been helping me a lot to become a better and a kinder human being. I was always taught to be nice and helpful with people who are less fortunate than me, but this program has made it real for me.

He said his classmates were watching the pre-game activities on TV. We imagine Jason will be replaying this night in his memory for many years to come.