Every once in a while, things in life just have a way of working themselves out perfectly. Even more rare is when that happens during your Peace Corps service. A couple weeks ago, the youth in my community decided that they want a place to play baseball near the community where they can practice and become better as a team. So they got a local farmer to donate some land to build a baseball field. The kids went out their with shovels, picks, hoes, and wheelbarrows and cleared out a field for themselves. They organized themselves and starting playing. I rode by on my bicycle one day and saw them playing with tattered gloves, balls that were barely held together by the stitching and homemade bats. It was kind of incredible to me the determination these kids had to play baseball.
The following day, one of the local dad’s who helps the team practice approached me and asked if there was anything I could do to help the youth get better gear to play with. The little gear they had was in terrible shape and really not safe to use. I, having no clue what to do but very eager to help told the father that I would see what could be done and I would let him know. So with the help of my amazing girlfriend Marie, we began scouring the Internet looking for organizations that donate baseball equipment to underserved youth in the Caribbean and Latin America. We eventually came upon an organization called Roberto’s Kids. I contacted the organization, explaining our situation and asking if there was anything that they could do to help. Steve Pindar, the founder of Roberto’s Kids, contacted me telling me that he could help. The organization has a requirement though, for anyone who wants to receive gear. The youth receiving the gear must complete some sort of community service activity. I knew exactly how to capitalize on this.
Being an environment volunteer, I am always looking for way in which my community can improve their own local environment. I took advantage of this opportunity to organize a community trash clean up with the youth. We got together on the weekend with trash bags in hand and clean up a 3 KM stretch of our main dirt road in the community. It was a huge success! I have never seen youth so motivated to pick up trash!
The turn out for the community clean up
Picking up that trash
Cleaning up the community
After the clean up, I arranged for the gear with Steve. It seemed that I was in luck, Steve had just sent down a shipment of gear to the D.R. and I could go to Santo Domingo to pick up some gear! I was able to get for the kids 35 gloves, 35 hats, 5 bats, 40 baseballs, a set of bases and a full set of catchers gear!! I was absolutely floored by the generosity of Steve’s organization.
Showing off the new gear
The full team with me
Our Catcher is ready to play now!
Our field actually has bases now!!
The Coach with a couple of the players
Distributing this equipment to the youth of my community was truly one of the most incredible experiences I have had. These kids were so excited and overjoyed to receive the gear. Not only that, but I felt like that actually worked to earn it, which made me very happy. The most incredible thing about this entire experience is the time frame of this whole thing. From the day that I was approached by the youth to try and find gear to the day that I was standing on the field distributing gear was less than a month!! I have never experienced this kind of turn around on a project in my community. It was truly a satisfying feeling for me. This was a win-win for everybody and I am eternally grateful to Steve Pindar and Roberto’s kids for their generous donation. If you want more information about their awesome organization, please visit: http://www.robertos-kids.org/