By Michelle Key
This morning, more than 100 BigHouse Foundation families made their way to Atlanta for a family day at an Atlanta Braves baseball game as part of the Braves ‘Community Heroes’ week. In a Facebook post earlier this month, Big House co-founder Micah Melnick posted “We are so grateful to the Braves Foundation for recognizing these unsung hero families and honoring them with this awesome opportunity.”
Little did Micah and her husband Blake know that their trip to Atlanta was not just for being honored for their fostering efforts but to be recognized by the Atlanta Braves organization and Fox Sports as “Community Heroes” for the impact they make locally through BigHouse.
Last month, the Melnicks and more than 30 BigHouse families were invited to take a tour of SunTrust Park prior to this afternoon’s game for what was being called a “BigHouse Family Fun Day.” The Melnicks were told that the Braves would bring their fan bus to Opelika to transport part of the group to the stadium and later offered to provide free T-shirts to all the attendees. Braves players, FOX Sports South broadcasters and BLOOPER surprised the families in the dugout during the ballpark tour, and players took the time to play catch with families before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Prior to first pitch, the Melnicks were presented with a $5,000 check for the BigHouse Foundation.
Joe Riddle, a friend of the Melnicks, nominated the pair for this honor last year.
“I saw the broadcast last year of the Braves Community Heroes Week and I thought Blake and Micah would certainly qualify so I wrote up their story that week and kinda forgot about it until I got a call in May from the Braves saying they had won,” Riddle said. “It was very hard to keep it a secret.”
About BigHouse Foundation and Community Heroes Week
The Melnicks founded BigHouse Foundation in 2009 after Micah became aware of some of the issues and needs within the foster care system that her parents experienced when they became foster parents in 2007. Witnessing her parents experiences inspired her to create a way to serve foster families with community support, and BigHouse Foundation grew from that inspiration. Today, BigHouse Foundation serves more than 12,000 children in the Alabama foster care system by providing resources and building relationships with families and in 2016, Blake and Micah themselves became foster parents.
According to the Atlanta Braves website, Community Heroes Week was launched in 2016 and is a week-long community initiative that highlights remarkable stories intended to inspire individuals into action in their own communities.
Throughout Community Heroes Week, the Braves Foundation and FOX Sports South shine a spotlight on individuals and organizations worthy of recognition and support. Each day is designed for honorees to share their inspirational stories with Braves players, coaches, fans and the media, while being surprised with the day of their dreams.
Last season, each Community Hero received a surprise visit from a huge Braves caravan transported on the FOX Sports Fan Express carrying Atlanta Braves players, coaches, mascot, tomahawk team, and broadcasters. Later that evening, they were treated to a VIP experience at the ballpark including batting practice and the chance to meet the rest of the team. Additionally, each honorees’ story was shared with Braves fans during the game and on the FOX Sports South broadcast.
Be sure to watch for the Melnick’s story that will be shared during today’s game.