HOPE Week: Chris Singleton’s message

The Yankees began their seventh annual HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) Monday with the story of Chris Singleton, a baseball player at Charleston Southern University, Chris was a normal student and college athlete when tragedy changed his life.

His mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 – a minister at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., and speech pathologist and girls track coach at Goose Creek High School – was among nine parishioners who lost their lives in a premeditated hate crime at the church this past June.

Following a memorial at his former high school the day after the shooting, Chris said about the perpetrator, “We already forgive him for what he has done. There’s nothing but love from our side of the family.”

Chris Singleton and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Chris Singleton and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Chris’ positivity has galvanized a community. Despite losing the only parent who took an active role in his life, he continues to radiate wisdom beyond his 19 years. More than a month after the tragedy, he posted on Twitter July 22, “The good outweighs the bad even on your worst days.”

Chris, along with his sister Camryn, 15, brother Caleb, 12, and his college baseball coach and mentor, Stuart Lake, of Charleston Southern University, were surprised Monday morning on the set of NBC’s The Today Show at Rockefeller Center by Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances, outfielder Brett Gardner and designated hitter Alex Rodriguez.

Singleton was later joined at One World Observatory for a private tour and lunch with pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and Justin Wilson, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Chris Young, infielder Stephen Drew and former second baseman and coach Willie Randolph before going to Yankee Stadium where he took part in batting practice with the team and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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