What led to the launch of the Moyer Foundation?
We started a foundation because we wanted to make an immediate impact on children who were in any type of distress. Along the way we educated ourselves on children and all kinds of distress, and we became experts on grief and addiction.
As a baseball player, Karen and I were always involved with giving back to the community. We just felt that we weren’t doing enough, so we created our own foundation to build on top of what we’ve always done with my employers. We just felt like we could do more and make a bigger impact. As we grew, we were involved with a grief camp in South Bend, Indiana, and we really saw the value of that.
How did Camp Erin begin?
The Erin story happens because we meet a girl through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, because Jamie is a professional athlete, and we decide to think about her sisters because we know she’s not going to make it. We’re able to create this camp to help people like Erin’s sisters and others who grieve a loss.
We asked Erin’s family to use her name on the camp. Then we started the camp, and we saw the value of the camp -- how it can help children who are grieving a loss.
We expanded on that and took it through the United States through a map of all Major League Baseball cities and more. Now it’s keeping those camps going, reacting to a need -- like being able to open a camp in Newtown, Connecticut. Or being able to go down to Oklahoma, where there are a lot of natural disasters, or to a desolate, middle-of-the-country state like Nebraska or New Orleans, wherever there’s need. More than 1.5 million kids are grieving a loss, so there’s a lot of work to be done.
We’ve come to realize a lot of things through this camp. But we realized that sometimes children don’t have a voice. We’re trying to educate society on this matter, as well as reaching out to kids who need these services. As we’ve gotten involved, we’ve come to realize there are more than 1.5 million kids in our country from the ages of 6 t 17 that are dealing with a loss. Our goal here has been to create camps. We came up with the idea of putting one in every Major League Baseball city, which is kind of our niche with me being a baseball player.
How did the documentary come together?
We didn’t do this documentary, and I think that’s what makes this pretty incredible. I actually fought the documentary because I want to protect these kids and I didn’t want to exploit them at all. The film has no Hollywood ending. The story goes that there was a producer in LA who actually had a personal story of losing his dad when he was younger. He wanted to do something on children’s bereavement, and here we have this documentary. It offers so much. We can use it to educate our counselors across the country, we can take it to donors. This is a free camp, it’s important for us to continually serve the kids we do and to serve more. It can be obviously used in a situation where we just need to open up the conversation, where we can give it a voice.