It’s been almost four years since Derek Jeter played his last game at Yankee Stadium, but he’s far from retired—he’s the CEO of the Miami Marlins and continues to be active in the Turn 2 Foundation, the philanthropy he founded his rookie year that encourages kids with education and leadership programming. “I developed a passion for giving back at a young age,” says Derek. “My father, who was a drug and alcohol abuse counselor, and my mother, instilled in [my sister] Sharlee and me the importance of community service, hard work and education. When we started the foundation, I knew that one of the core values would be helping young people to turn away from negative influences and turn to healthy lifestyles.”
Today Sharlee Jeter is the President of the Turn 2 Foundation and works closely with her brother on the organization’s programming, including Jeter’s Leaders, which recognizes high school students who achieve academically, stay drug and alcohol free and are engaged with their communities.
“We’ve never wavered from our goals and expectations from our kids,” says Sharlee. “We made a point to have kids from all different backgrounds. We said all of them can have the same academic expectations; all of them have a voice, and their voice is important. All of them can work together to have a common goal.”
This summer, Sharlee is inspiring others beyond the youth community with her first book, The Stuff: Unlock Your Power to Overcome Challenges, Soar, and Succeed, a self-help tome she co-wrote with Dr. Sampson Davis, who pulled himself out of poverty to become an emergency room physician and founder of The Three Doctors Foundation, which inspires inner-city youth with education, volunteerism and mentorship programming. “One of the things we’re trying to do constantly is show kids their potential,” says Sharlee, who chronicles her experience battling Hodgkin lymphoma while a college student in the book that spotlights the 11 shared elements, aka “the stuff,” the authors have identified in people’s stories about overcoming obstacles.
The organization and book go hand in hand in keeping the message of positive change alive, and both Sharlee and Derek are encouraged by today’s socially active youth. “It’s so inspiring to see young people around the country use their actions—and their voices—to make a difference,” says Derek. “Through our programs, we strive to provide our Leaders with opportunities to create positive change and empower youth nationwide to follow their lead. We believe that it is crucial for young people to have the support, guidance and inspiration to make positive, constructive decisions that will help them to lead successful lives.”
Photo by Eileen Barroso/Turn 2 Foundation, Inc.