Philly Baird considered himself a self-made man. See Philly grew up in the foster care system from age 4 to aging out at 18 through the system. His father died when he was just a toddler. Philly moved between numerous foster care and group homes over the years with virtually no contact from his birth mother. He was born as Robert Joseph Baird. Philly changed his name to Philly as he stated many times "he felt the city of Philadelphia raised him, and it reflected who he was." As you can imagine growing up in the foster care system, most of Philly's blood relations were non-existent and broken. Philly suffered abuse no child should ever experience. Philly said the only things that got him through foster care system was Rocky movies, basketball, learning US history where this country started in his city of Philadelphia and his case worker. Wendy Witmer followed Philly through the system all those years. She considered Philly part of her family and was there through some very tough times for Philly including confronting one of his abusers. Philly kept in touch with his case worker through the years and expressed how much of an impact she had on him. As an adult, Philly closest bond was with his Aunt Cindy and Uncle Mike Arliga and their 2 grown children Mike and Maria. Philly shared with those close to him that his childhood was close to mirroring Dave Pelzer’s book series which account one of the most severe abuse cases in California. Philly read all 4 books in the series and shared the series with those he wanted to have a great understanding of his childhood and abuse he suffered. Philly was determined to overcome his own childhood nightmare and to make a difference in many lives over the years, especially the lives of countless children he coached and mentored. Philly has two children of his own. Although his relationships were strained by long distances and time, his ultimate life decision was to ensure they were taken care of and he loved them dearly. Philly had things interwoven into his daily life to remember each of his kids including pictures, their names throughout his home-life and tattoos over the past decade. Philly shared his deepest concerns and feelings regarding his children with those closest to him. As a result, his children's needs will always be a top priority of those closest to him and the Foundation. Seeing him with other children he mentored and was close to over the years, it was evident that he would be a great role model and father.
Philly had a heart and love for kids like no other. He was involved in big brother programs giving back to kids and pouring into them life skills and love. Philly coached basketball and football through multiple recreation leagues. Philly was a mentor and an inspiration. He always promoted being an athlete is so much more… you are a student athlete first. He weaved in life skills through his coaching. Philly had a wonderful basketball coach when growing up named Brian Lyle. Philly talked about several that made an impact on him growing up and his case worker and coach came up every time in those conversations. Philly kept in touch with him over the years and saw him several weeks before Philly became ill. Over the years, Philly shared that his coaching skills came directly from Coach Lyle. Philly felt that a coach could change a game, but a great coach could change a life. Philly took it seriously that his job as a coach was to teach, motivate and inspire each child on the sport and the most important game called life. Every year the requests by families for Coach Philly was overwhelming, but it put a huge smile on his face. Philly paid the fee for several children to play in the rec leagues each year. Philly bought sports supplies, shoes, and clothes for those that were in need without hesitation.
Philly made an impact on so many people. Philly spoke with intent and acted with his heart. Philly loved fiercely. Philly had a heart of gold and intentionally thought of ways he could make someone’s life better for a moment. Philly lived his life being the change he wished to see in the world. The stories of Philly making a difference are endless from making someone smile for a moment to helping single mothers, getting bus tickets for homeless to go back home, feeding the homeless, making the difference in a child's life, etc. Philly shared with others on several social media platforms things he did to be the change, to make a difference in someone's life, the community and the world. Being positive and being that change can and will have a ripple effect in our communities and around the world. Philly shared these things to encourage each of us and to spark new ideas in each of us to do our own things to be the change we each wish to see in the world.
Philly said many times “say what you mean and mean what you say.” "It’s not what you have, it’s what you do with what you have." "Small acts when multiplied by many, can transform the world." Philly encouraged us to be a better version of ourselves. Philly used his voice to make a difference even while he was deteriorating in the hospital. Philly spoke out about his situation and encouraged others to consider the vax as a layer of protection while not fool proof. We have personally heard from over 100+ people that made the choice from seeing Philly’s interview. Philly has left us all values and passion that fueled him. Philly was known for reaching out to those in need and to actively watch for moments that allow us to lift someone up and be the change we wish to see in the world. What mattered to Philly can and will live on through each of us. The way Philly carried himself and went above and beyond to reach out and create plans to make a difference to make an impact on each of us. Philly's desire would be that we challenge ourselves to give back to those less fortunate and to make a difference in the world. Philly started his own movement to make a difference and be the change he wished to see in the world. Thank you for joining us on the movement Philly left for us.
In order to keep his Philly's memory alive, the foundation called Philly Baird Is the Change was created. We will continue his mission to encourage people to be the change they wish to see in the world to make the world a better place. It starts with each of us. We look forward to growing the foundation to promote what mattered to Philly Baird and to each of you joining us to make a difference no matter the size.
Be the change you wish to see in the World.
Philly Baird Is The Change Foundation was created to promote the things that meant the most to Philly Baird. Philly connected people in need with those that could provide from furniture, children clothes, food to jobs. Philly created groups bringing people together for a purpose of helping others over the years. Philly did many random and planned out things to make a difference in the lives of others, especially single moms, children and the homeless. Philly would think up things to do and ask what are you doing tomorrow, want to go to some random place and do something with me. This usually meant you were going to put a smile on someone's face and make a difference in someone or many lives. Philly volunteered over the years through various Big Brother programs and coaching various sports for underprivileged youth and recreational leagues in the communities he lived in California. Philly loved coaching football, but basketball was where he spent most of his coaching time. Philly loved group coaching and knew he could make a difference faster with 1:1 coaching. Philly mentored youth over the years with the hope of encouraging each of them to rise above their circumstances and not let their current situation be their future.
It is the mission of the Philly Baird Is The Change Foundation to continue to promote and encourage these things that mattered most to Philly. The Foundation will be transparent and a good steward of all funds raised to include Philly's children.
We will start the Foundation by focusing on fundraising to help in several areas including providing assistance to youth sports programs to include registration fees and supplies and homeless causes in the local area.
Philly Baird shared with several of us his wish to have a bench in his honor. This was shared numerous times when others had passed over the years and was shared in the days leading up to being on a ventilator. It is the desire of the Foundation to bring this wish to life.
There will be events throughout the year we will promote to bring us together to honor Philly Baird's memory and to encourage us to give back to our communities and make a difference. To be the change we each wish to see in this world and send a ripple around the world to encourage others to do the same.
Welcome! Thank you for joining us to promote what mattered most to Philly Baird.
Proceeds from shop and direct donations will go towards fulfilling our mission. We are focused solely on making a difference by Being the Change we all wish to see in the world.
Our actions small or big make a ripple around the world.
Thank you for joining the movement Philly started for us all.