Angela Breeze, a fifth-grade teacher at New Hope Elementary, said about 250 people affiliated with the school attended the game.
“For some of the students at our school, it may be the only time they go to a baseball game,” she said.
Korie Sawyer, assistant director of student-athlete development, said the program was started by former women’s lacrosse player Zoe Skinner in the 2013-14 school year.
“She did some mentoring at New Hope Elementary School and kind of came up with the idea,” Sawyer said. “So that year, I think we started with probably like 50 to 70 athletes, where they wrote back and forth.”
UNC football player Kyle Murphy took a leadership role in the program this year.
“Obviously, playing football puts me on kind of a platform, and I just try to use that to help the kids,” he said.
Sawyer said New Hope students write to their pen pals three times a semester, and the social mixer at the baseball game gives New Hope students and their pen pals the first opportunity to talk in person.
“I do see some of the stuff the athletes write and that the little kids write,” Sawyer said. “Men’s basketball participates, so you’ve got one kid that’s giving Justin Jackson advice on his shooting.”