Fordham student Catherine Menta has been named the first member of Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira’s “All-Star Dream Team” in support of Harlem RBI, a nonprofit youth-development organization.
Menta, who will be a junior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center in the fall, was chosen from those who have already donated over $25 to Teixeira’s Dream Team 25 campaign, which challenges New Yorkers to match his $1 million donation to the East Harlem program.
As an “All-Star Dream Team” member—the first of 9 who will eventually be chosen—Menta will have lunch with Mark Teixeira and get a behind-the-scenes tour of Yankees Stadium. She and a guest will also watch a game from a luxury box, and Menta will be given on-the-field recognition before the game begins.
First started in 1991, Harlem RBI helps inner-city youths develop their potential and pursue their dreams by providing them with year-round sports, educational and enrichment activities.
The goal of Teixeira’s campaign is to help fund the development of a new mixed-use community facility in East Harlem, which will house Harlem RBI and its DREAM Charter School as well as provide affordable housing, a public park and more than 500 jobs for the community.
Menta, an avid Yankees fan, found out about the “Dream Team” contest by following Teixeira’s Twitter posts. To enter, Menta submitted a short written statement explaining why she should be considered for the team.
In her response, Menta, who is originally from Ridgefield Park, N.J., expressed her desire to give back to the New York community that is helping her further her education. She also drew upon her experiences in past community development work, teaching Sunday school, tutoring and baking for a local soup kitchen.
As a communications and media studies major, Menta was particularly pleased that she was recognized for her writing. Her statement is now featured on the Harlem RBI website, a fitting honor for Menta, who is also a writer for the Fordham Observer.
When Menta got the call on May 13 letting her know she had been chosen for the team, she had just finished her last final, a philosophy exam, and was waiting for her dad to pick her up to take her home for the summer.
Along with her excitement upon hearing the news, Menta felt pleased that she would have the opportunity to spread the word about Harlem RBI, particularly its DREAM Charter School.
“I’m a big believer in everybody having a chance to have a good education and recognize their talents and explore them,” she said.
“I have had really great teachers who encouraged me and I feel like charter schools help kids have opportunities they might not have otherwise. Every kid should have that opportunity.”
Menta now hopes to become a volunteer or tutor for Harlem RBI.
While she has not yet heard what game she will be attending, Menta knows for certain that she will be bringing her dad, another big Yankees fan, to her big day.
“I’m really happy and flattered that they chose me at all,” she said. “And the fact that they felt compelled to pick me as the first person—I just can’t believe it—it’s exciting.”