RIVERA, the legendary former Yankees closer, helped launch a program that will bring better lighting to classrooms.

Illuminating the Future

07/2017

By Chris Blake, Yankees Magazine

EXCERPT FROM THE ARTICLE: Yankees partner with Planled to bring sustainable lighting to Bronx school

Mariano Rivera pitched in the big leagues for 19 seasons, retiring when he was 43 years old. Yet on June 7, the 13-time All-Star told students at P.S. 68 in the Bronx that advances in LED lighting might have allowed him to pitch even longer. And it turns out the students might get the benefits Rivera never could, thanks to a pilot program donated and installed in two classrooms at P.S. 68 by PLANLED, the same company that upgraded the lights at Yankee Stadium prior to the 2016 season.

“He was talking to the kids in the auditorium and he said to them, ‘I had a long career, but I actually think if I was exposed to this when I was younger and knew the value of this kind of lighting system, I might’ve played a few more years,'” said Brian Smith, the Yankees’ senior vice president of corporate and community relations.

Rivera visited the school, along with representatives from the Yankees, PLANLED and the Green Sports Alliance, to launch SHINE, which stands for Shine Hope in the Northeast. The program will provide opportunities for public schools and nonprofit organizations throughout the region to take advantage of more efficient LED lighting through SHINE’s partnerships with local energy contractors.

PLANLED’s goal is to implement human-centric sustainability into its projects, finding ways to conserve energy while simultaneously benefitting people’s day-to-day lives by enhancing productivity and maximizing rest and recovery time.

“The general public is very much aware of the energy-saving side of the benefit, but there’s very little awareness of the human benefit – how we can be healthier and happier,” said John Hwang, CEO of PLANLED. “So, we’re trying to achieve both by doing this campaign.”

SHINE’s pilot program will be used as a springboard, with plans in place to install LED lights in P.S. 68’s gymnasium and auditorium over the summer. Hwang said the school’s principal, Aidimaris Soler; community superintendent for District 11 Meisha Ross Porter; and other department of education representatives in attendance expressed an interest in expanding the program even further.

“We had the opportunity to receive feedback and witness the students in the classroom, and the teachers, and the environment where they have the lighting that was retrofitted by PLANLED, and it was incredible,” Smith said. “Kids were saying they would be tired at certain points during the day, but now as a result of the light being adjusted at different points, they felt they were ready to go and to take care of business.”