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09/11/2008 4:12 PM ET
Beltran aids Harlem 'DREAM'
Mets star a part of RBI DREAM charter school opening
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• Harlem RBI DREAM Charter School  Watch
• Harlem RBI Gala  Watch
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When Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran pledged to donate $500 for each RBI he earned to Harlem RBI in 2006, it was only the start of the star player's long relationship with the youth sports and literacy program. And Beltran, the organization's "Honorary Commissioner," saw some of those dollars at work when the Harlem RBI DREAM charter school opened its doors on September 2.

At the ceremonial grand opening event, Harlem RBI Executive Director Richard Berlin recalled 17 years of working in the Harlem community, starting with a Little League program and leading up to the initiation of the DREAM Charter School.

Beltran was on hand as well, visiting classrooms and graciously thanking the program's administrators for the opportunity to work with the kids involved.

"When I visited Harlem RBI for the first time, I fell in love with what they do...mixing education with sports," Beltran told "I think that's a great're going to get a lot of positives out of the kids."

New York Congressman Charles Rangel and New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein also attended the event, offering words of thanks and inspiration to the crowd.

"I cannot think of anything, with the exception of the next election," Rangel said, "that's more important than what Rich and the RBIs are doing today."

The school, which currently enrolls children in kindergarten and first grades, will eventually become a K-8th grade program for neighborhood children. Featuring a curriculum that includes an arts program, health education and extra help with reading and math, the school will provide a new education option to area families.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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