In the beginning, Kerry Wood was the Chicago Cubs’ dream pitcher.
“I was very fortunate to have a very cool job for a long time,” Wood said.
After retiring during his second stint with the team, in the spring of 2012, the Texas native and his wife Sarah decided to make Chicago home base.
“The city has been so great to me and my family, through thick and thin and good and bad,” he said.
Wood’s career had its ups and downs, but he says the city stood by him, and he and wife Sarah feel it’s their duty to throw back all they can.
“It’s important for us to show our children that we have an obligation to our city. We have an obligation to give back and this is our family business,” Sarah Wood said.
And what a family business it is. They established the Wood Foundation in 2011 with a purpose of helping inner city kids in need. Wood says his wife came up with the idea.
“It all started with, you know, spending some time at the hospital and volunteering and it morphed into this,” Kerry said.
One of the foundation’s programs is the free week-long baseball clinic for 300 children in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Teaching kids the fundamentals of baseball and the life long lesson of teamwork.
“It has given me something to do instead of getting in trouble and it’s helping the community out,” said Sayvon Hoard.
“‘Cause if i wasn’t here in the summer time I would just be sitting at home in the bed laying down,” said Sarah Siller.
“Our Chicago kids, they need the most help, especially with all the reorganizing in our school system and our inner city kids neighborhoods,” Sarah said.
This past spring, the foundation awarded it’s first college scholarship, to Gabriel Antoyo — a full ride to UIC honors college.
She’s the first in her family to go to college.
“It was like a debt paid for my mother that’s paid in full,” Gabriel said.
“Really proud of that, being able to take care of a child’s education for four years an give them a chance to do better for her family,” Kerry said.
With kids of their own. Sarah says she tries to teach them the importance of giving back.
“They need to know that their situation is not like everyone else’s, and because of dad’s position in this city they have an obligation,” Sarah said.
Kerry and Sarah wood — two of Chicago’s Very Own.