NEW YORK CITY — For just under a decade, The Garden of Dreams Foundation has upheld it’s goal of positively impacting the lives of children facing obstacles. The non-profit organization, created in 2006, works alongside the Madison Square Garden Company and has benefited more than 275,000 kids in it’s history.
Even more remarkable about the foundation is it’s consistency. According to their website, every year Garden of Dreams hosts more than 500 events, many of which involve MSG’s professional teams: the NHL’s Rangers; the NBA’s Knicks; and the WNBA’s Liberty. Tight relationships with such prestigious franchises only adds to what makes the Garden of Dreams unique and distinctive.
And on Friday, August 21 — the date for a New York Liberty matchup against the Atlanta Dream at Madison Square Garden — a “Garden of Dreams Night” was held to give the foundation’s children a spotlight in front of the 9,903 in attendance.
For starters, in the team’s pregame shoot around several hours before the contest, the New York Liberty players met with 48 children, staff, and chaperones from the Police Athletic League (PAL) and the Garden of Dreams’ Talent Show. Then, for the Liberty’s pregame warmup session minutes before the match, players sported black shirts with the foundation’s logo. Later, twenty children from PAL participated in the Liberty’s pre-game fan tunnel while another five helped comprise the Liberty’s player introduction line.
The Garden of Dream’s impact on the night extended beyond a direct relationship between the Liberty players and children. One 14-year-old from Make-A-Wish of NJ took over as the Liberty’s honorary PA announcer; one 16-year-old from PAL was introduced and acted as the Liberty’s co-captain; one eighteen-year-old from PAL delivered the game ball to the officials; another 18-year-old from PAL played as a honorary organist; one 11-year-old from PAL danced at halftime; one 19-year-old rapper from SCO Family of Services performed as the Liberty’s honorary musician; and one 10-year-old from WHEDco interacted with the crowd as a honorary member of Liberty Torch Patrol.
The Garden of Dreams, however, did more than just court-related activities. For example, a school supply drive took place during the first half at the street level of the building — an opportunity for the foundation to collect supplies for the coming school year. Additionally, PSA’s about the Garden of Dreams were played throughout the night to provide information about the foundation and share more of the foundation’s past experiences.
Although the night joins the hundreds of other Garden of Dreams events, there is no doubt that it made a tangible impact on everyone involved.