Two community events celebrate the life and legacy of Ari Arteaga

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Two community events celebrate the life and legacy of Ari Arteaga
The Ari Arteaga Foundation will host Ari’s Birthday 5K Walkathon at Continental Park in Kendall from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Mar. 3

Mar. 4 marks a very special day for the Miami Hurricanes family. It marks the 22nd heavenly birthday of Ari Arteaga, the son of Miami Hurricane Baseball head coach JD Arteaga.

In 2018, Ari suffered a tragic auto accident, yet his memory and spirit live on in every person who knew him. Many of Coach Arteaga’s current and former players knew Ari because he grew up on the baseball diamond at UM’s Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.

After school, Ari would race over to The Light. He spent a lot of time watching practice and hanging out in the dugout. Former players remember Ari always had a big smile on his face and loved to joke around with the team in the dugout and simply spend time with his dad.

After Ari’s passing, the Ari Arteaga Foundation – Be The Light was created by Coach Arteaga and his wife, Ysha, to honor and memorialize Ari. Ari lived by his personal motto, “Be The Light” by sharing his passion and joy for making every day filled with compassion and empathy for others. The foundation’s mission is to spread Ari’s spirit by helping children and families overcome obstacles they may face due to unforeseen hardships.

“I think as a parent who has their son or daughter pass, you want to keep them alive,” Ysha Arteaga said. “Ari left great joy, great memories, laughter, inclusion. He made everybody feel special. He really had a gift for making everyone feel special.”

Since 2018, the foundation has awarded more than 80 Be The Light Scholarships to deserving students as well as hosted multiple food, gift, and book drives for low-income families along with other outreach efforts for the underserved.

Be The Light and Lil’ Light Clubs have been created in more than 15 public and private schools in Miami-Dade and now Broward counties. The clubs are designed to provide thousands of students a variety of meaningful service opportunities each school year to actively engage with the community. These volunteer opportunities are designed to build life and leadership skills through service while also positively impacting the community.
For JD and Ysha, the foundation was a calling.

“When people come into hardship and darkness, you want to be a light for them, give them hope and just help them get through it. Hard times are going to come and we’re all going to get through it. We want to be there and be the light for people in times of need and times of darkness,” Coach Arteaga said.

So, although Ari’s heavenly birthday on Mar. 4 marks a difficult time for the Arteaga’s and their Hurricane family, it also is an opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate Ari’s legacy. The Foundation hosts two annual fundraisers on Mar. 3 and 4 to do just that.

On Sunday, Mar. 3, the foundation will host Ari’s Birthday 5K Walkathon at Continental Park in Kendall from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Ari grew up playing flag football with his friends at Continental Park and even park officials remember the friendly teen.

“We chose Sunday ’cause in our home it’s always Family Sunday Funday,” Ysha Arteaga said. “We would love it for our community to bring their family and join us on Mar. 3 to celebrate.”

Family, friends and neighbors are invited to join in the fun and celebrate Ari’s spirit by wearing something funky like a wig, glasses or crazy socks. The Walkathon tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students (4 and under free). Ticket available online at

On Ari’s birthday, Monday, Mar. 4, the foundation will host its annual Be The Light at The Light high school baseball game at UM’s Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. This year, Westminster Christian School will host Christopher Columbus High School. The game should provide a fun and competitive matchup and typically brings hundreds to fill the Hurricane’s stadium. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. and a link for tickets are available on the foundation’s Instagram bio: @BETHELIGHT30_6.




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