San Francisco Giants help fulfill AT&T Park ice cream vendor’s dreams


Oct 25, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants fans wave rally towels before game four of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

On the final home game of the 2014 season, the San Francisco Giants teamed up with Juma Ventures to award one of their students with funds to assist in fulfilling her dream of becoming a doctor. An AT&T park ice cream vendor, Alena Byers, was rewarded with a $5,000 check to start her journey into pre-med and become the first person in her family to attend college.

Please enjoy the video (produced by Portal A in San Francisco), which captures the events of that special night, scratching the surface of Alena’s inspirational story:

The help Alena received emphasizes the importance of community that the Giants organization is committed to. This commitment was evident when I visited the park and took a behind the scenes tour, and is reflected by the front office, the players, the broadcaster—all the way through to the vendors in the concession stands.

I was fortunate enough to take a moment of her precious free time and ask Alena a few questions:

What is it like being a vendor at AT&T park?

"Being a vendor comes with a lot of different feelings, emotions, or perspectives. For example, when I first started vending I was extremely nervous about walking around and screaming at people. However, I got over that feeling when I realized that other vendors felt the same way.Moreover, I was embarrassed every time I saw a friend or family member. I don’t know why, it was just one of the emotions that manifested itself. As a vendor, you have to be confident and determined that you will do better than last time. That’s why I liked being a vendor, it made me a more confident and determined young woman."

Who inspires you?

"The inspiration in my life stems from the head of my household, my mom. My mom inspires me everyday as to how she can care for a child, work long hours, and still be an amazingly beautiful person inside and out. However, though the saying with age comes great wisdom may be true, an inspiration does not always have to be someone older or famous.My second inspiration comes from a 2 1/2-year-old boy, [my younger brother] Chase Byers. Chase inspires me everyday to push myself to the best of my abilities, so that he can follow in my footsteps. He inspires me through observing how he reacts when he can’t do something. He continuously tries until he gets what he’s put so much effort into; he never gives up. I aspire to be an inspiration to Chase, also."

Do you have any words of encouragement for others who are in a similar situation as yourself, namely being the first in the family going to college?

"Words of encouragement to those who are like myself, young, old, a scholar striving for success, a first generation college student, African-American, Caucasian, Asian, Latin, female, male, low-income, it doesn’t matter. Whomever you are, you are beautiful, brilliant, and no one can hurt you without your permission.Continue to strive for success, there will always be someone telling you that you can’t; you have to prove them wrong, opportunity is always knocking on your door, and don’t be afraid of opening closed doors; you never know what you could discover."

Are you a Giants fan?

"Of course, if I work in “The” Giants Stadium, I have to be an enthusiastic fan. My favorite players are Brandon Crawford, Angel Pagan, and Buster Posey."

Next time you’re at AT&T Park, look for the vendors in the bright-green shirts and tip your cap or offer a smile. Or visit the @Cafe (served by Juma Ventures) located behind the center field bleachers and support others like Alena who are working to better themselves and those around them.