The WORKS Little League Serves Community with Assistance from New York Life Partnership
Little League touches lives in many ways. For the children who get to play, it’s a cherished experience that shapes their lives. For Indra Puran, a Life Underwriters Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) and a South Ozone Park, N.Y., resident for nearly 20 years, Little League didn’t mean much until she got involved as a sponsor through New York Life Insurance.
“I saw kids running back and forth on my street wearing baseball uniforms,” said Mrs. Puran, an agent with the Greater New York Office of New York Life since 2007. “It didn’t click that they are part of an organized league.”
When The WORKS Little League requested sponsorship, she realized all those happy children she’d seen were part of it. “It instantly changed my life,” she said.
In addition to its national partnership with Little League Baseball and Softball, New York Life’s local offices sponsor leagues in their communities. Leagues that seek sponsorship are paired with nearby New York Life Offices around the United States. Each office determines with the league what the sponsorship involves. Most leagues want New York Life to host a Child ID event, where children obtain a free, secure ID. Some offices also create trading cards or cover the cost of uniforms.
“Any time a large organization such as New York Life is willing to reach out to a community-based program such as WORKS Little League, it is a great benefit to the program,” Terry Flanagan, President of WORKS Little League, said. “There is a financial benefit which is passed on to our families which keeps the registration fee as low as possible. In this case, we have also been blessed with one of New York Life's employees now becoming a part of our family.
“Since New York Life has become a sponsor of our league, Indra Puran has volunteered her time to assist with our picture day and park clean-up,” Mr. Flanagan said. “At last season's awards luncheon, she set up a table to have the children's pictures taken for a Child ID. The children were given the cards as a secure ID.”
Businesses get involved with Little League in part to improve brand visibility, but Mrs. Puran said the opportunity for community-building is what drives her. It’s not unusual for her or someone on her office team to be volunteering at a game without any kind of a business set up. “It’s important to just be there and support the community,” she said.
“Our partnership with New York Life has been a happy and worthwhile experience,” Neil Giannelli, a board member with WORKS Little League, said. “Mrs. Puran is our New York Life representative, but she also lives and works here in the neighborhood, and neighborhoods are what Little League is all about. New York Life sponsors one of our teams, and Mrs. Puran’s boys play in our league, and she is also coaching.”
One recent Saturday in March, Mrs. Puran and two other agents from her office volunteered preparing food while parents and kids lined up for picture day. The following week she was back with a group of volunteers and buckets of paint. The crew painted bleachers and made other touch ups at the field.
“I love that I’m here giving back to my community, and this is where I live. It’s great,” she said.
Mrs. Puran also plans to apply for a grant from the New York Life Foundation. Certain grants are based on agent volunteer hours, so the paint day is more than just a spruce up.
Mrs. Puran says the sponsorship experience is morale-boosting. “My own twin boys are playing this year,” she said, “and I’m promoting this league wherever I go.”
Throughout the season, the New York Life banner hangs in Forest Park, home of the WORKS Little League. Mrs. Puran and her team make regular appearances to cheer on the team. She enjoys meeting her neighbors, and offers them a chance to learn more about New York Life when she stations herself at the team honor banquet in October.
“We are quite happy with our relationship, and hope it continues to grow in the future,” Mr. Flanagan said. “We also hope to see Indra as part of our league for a long time, and will enjoy watching her twins grow over the next few years.”