Indians Facility Maintenance coordinator inspires Summer of Service project, recognized by East Cleveland

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Friday was a special day for the Cleveland Indians organization and our guiding commitment to the community in which we work and play: In partnership with Business Volunteers Unlimited, we participate in its Summer of Service project by revitalizing Forest Hill Park in East Cleveland, once the home of John D. Rockefeller Sr.; the park at one time was on the National Register of Historic Places.

Front office employees from the Indians joined Shaw High School students and employees of other Cleveland companies, including Fox Sports Ohio, KeyBank and more, in the project.

Indians Coordinator of Facility Maintenance Valencia Kimbrough was part of the inspiration of the project. “V,” as she’s affectionately known at work, is an East Cleveland native and spent her childhood playing with friends at Forest Hill.

After the event, East Cleveland officials presented V with a proclamation for her efforts (as shown in the photos above). More about V, in her own words:

I am a Shaw High Graduate of the Class of 2001. My little sister was Class of 2002, and my little brother and niece Class of 2014. Another niece is currently a senior and in the Class of 2015. A number of my family members graduated from Shaw from 1989-1995.

I was blessed with a father that LOVED sports and made sure we experienced it. Then I was blessed (because of my dad) to become an employee of the Cleveland Indians. As my little brother got older, he began working for the Indians and wanted to play baseball for Shaw High school — but at the time the school could not get enough players to have a team. We visited Forest Hill Park to play on their fields with my son, and saw the shape that the fields (and that the park) were in, and it hurt my heart. I remember when the park was beautiful.

Volunteering is important to me, because I believe that it is important to give back. East Cleveland gave me a LOT over the years – great friends and a great education — and I believe that it’s my duty to give something back. Last summer, someone that I called my brother took three lives in East Cleveland. I can’t tell you why he did it, and I can’t change what he did, but I want people to know that East Cleveland is more than murder and crime. A lot of great people come from this city.

I can’t give back the lives that he took, or provide answers to the family and my community, but what I can do is give my time — and I thought, what better way but to combine the two things I love: East Cleveland and the Cleveland Indians. After the incident with my brother and the baseball team, and the senseless murders that took place, I know how much the Cleveland Indians give to Cleveland public school district, and thought I would do some research. A lot of people didn’t realize that East Cleveland and Cleveland school districts were different, and a lot of Shaw High School students didn’t know much about the Cleveland Indians. It was a great opportunity to help a community in need and introduce the Cleveland Indians organization to a new community.

As an employee of the Cleveland Indians I have always admired the dedication the organization has to the Cleveland Community. Our Community Relations department is one of the best in Northeast Ohio, and we have a number of great programs that help CMSD. It’s very important to me that they support my interest and the community that I am from because it shows just how much we pride ourselves in Creating Memories, Connecting Generations, and Celebrating Families all over — not just for the city of Cleveland, but the surrounding communities as well.

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