One of them has maintained his ties to the New York Mets as one of the team’s television broadcasters. The other perpetually is serenaded by fans as “Moooookie!” Ron Darling and Mookie Wilson, former Mets players, helped Habitat for Humanity-New York City give a new paint job to the King Towers Community Center in Manhattan on May 24.
“I’ve gotten so much from New York City and still do, I feel obliged to give something back,” Mr. Darling, who sits on Habitat-NYC’s Board, said. “Citi, the Mets and Habitat for Humanity are trying in our way to make everything better.”
|NYCHA Chairman Rhea gives remarks at Brush with Kindness event. (Photo by LETICIA BARBOZA)|
Citi, the financial services corporation, and the New York Mets Alumni Association Presented by Citi teamed up for the event with Habitat-NYC as part of the Brush With Kindness program. Brush With Kindness is a partnership between NYCHA and Habitat-NYC to refurbish NYCHA’s community centers. In the last year alone, more than 40 community centers in developments in all five boroughs were painted. “This work has a huge impact on lives at NYCHA. Bright, clean, friendly spaces make all the difference in the world – especially for the kids that are this city’s future,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “That’s really what Brush With Kindness is all about. One good deed inspiring another, creating a chain reaction that uplifts communities and changes lives.”
Ruby Kitchen, the King Towers Resident Association President said, painting the community center is a fantastic idea. “There should be more events like this for other community centers,” she said. “It’s not very often you get someone to give you something like this.”
Citi and Habitat-NYC volunteers joined in to paint the community center, filling in pre-drawn patterns such as flowers, lions and giraffes. “I understand what good housing means,” Mr. Wilson said. “I came from an underprivileged area, so it’s a privilege to give back when I can.”
The event’s corporate sponsors echoed that sentiment. “By partnering with organizations like the Mets, Habitat-NYC and NYCHA, we are able to collectively make a tremendous impact,” said Bill Borden, Managing Director of Citi Transaction Services.
Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon also was at the event. And of course Mr. Met, who kept his perpetually positive facial expression, as Chairman Rhea noted. “Facilities that are friendly, inspiring and supportive bring out the very best in young people,” he said. “They brighten outlooks and put smiles on faces – right, Mr. Met?”
Mr. Darling and Mr. Wilson also signed a home plate that will be displayed at the King Towers Community Center. “We know what (NYCHA) does for the City,” Mr. Darling said. “It couldn’t exist if it wasn’t for you guys.”
By Eric Deutsch
May 24, 2012