Pedro Martinez inspires students, launches a sports mentoring initiative for young athletes in Boston and Lawrence.
Pedro Martinez wants students to understand that he used to “sit on the same chair” as them, learning from his teachers and parents, before becoming a Red Sox legend.
“I understood the values of respecting education and trying to learn and be the best you possibly could be. I want you guys to look at me as a sign of hope for whatever you want to do,” the Hall-of-Famer told a packed cafeteria full of excited students Friday morning at South Boston’s James F. Condon School.
Martinez and his wife Carolina, are continuing their passion for education and giving back to the community through the Pedro Martinez Foundation by launching a sports mentoring initiative for young athletes in Boston and Lawrence.
The initiative will include mentorship sessions with “major” athletes from across New England. Those sessions will feature personal training and access to educational events and resources throughout the year. The foundation also will look to participate in events, such as back-to-school supply drives, Carolina said.
“We want to encourage you guys to continue doing good in school, to continue doing good in sports, to continue to listen to your teachers, to your parents,” she told the 100-plus students, donning Red Sox caps they received from the foundation.
The Pedro Martinez Foundation has been a community stalwart, both in Boston and in Martinez’ native Dominican Republic.
Last year, the organization served more than 119,000 children ages 3 to 18 in education classes, health and sports programs, mentoring and counseling, and more, according to the foundation’s annual report. Pedro mentored students at East Boston High School and spoke at Lawrence High School’s graduation ceremony.
“Like I always say, I am a Bostonian,” Pedro told the media after Friday’s high-energy event. “I believe everyone out here is important to me. For these students, for these kids that need role models and need someone to look up to, I’m more than happy to be one of those guys.”
Ten runners will be representing the foundation in Monday’s Boston Marathon. Pedro and Carolina will be hosting a brunch on Sunday at the Colonnade Hotel for the participants who raised funds earmarked for the new sports mentoring initiative.
Seven runners who ran for the foundation last year raised over $75,000.
Pedro said he’s feeling mixed emotions about the 10th anniversary of the 2013 marathon bombings. He highlighted his former teammate David Ortiz’s famous rally call the day after bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was caught in Watertown, “This is our (expletive) city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom.”