It is a great honor to serve on the board of directors of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy (YBA). If all goes well, the YBA will open later this year. The youth baseball academy will be a very welcome addition in Ward 7 in Washington, DC.
The YBA will be a place for DC youth to gather right after school — for a combination of school work and then baseball practice. This is sorely needed in Wards 7 and 8, areas where most of the young African-American kids don’t play baseball.
I’ve seen the wonderful work of the MLB’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), especially the great work they’ve done in NY’s Harlem neighborhood. It will be a wonderful sight in Ward 7 to see new and well-built baseball fields for the young DC children to learn and practice the game of baseball. But, just as important, the YBA will provide a structured environment for the kids to do their homework and to learn good study practices.
There was a terrific article in the Washington Post this week about the amazing work of a Washington, DC police officer in helping revive baseball in Ward 7 — http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-dc-police-officer-steps-up-to-the-plate-for-children/2013/07/04/619406cc-e40a-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html.
This police officer himself was a product of the great work of the Harlem RBI program. It helped him grow into a man and now’s he “paying it forward.” His selfless and tireless work is so impressive. And, I’m glad that the YBA will be able to help Officer Mediana with his dreams.
One thing I would love to do is get some of the Little League teams in Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Loudoun County, etc. involved helping Officer Medina with his needs for equipment for the DC kids. I’m sure nearly every Little League team in these counties has extra gloves, bats, cleats, batting gloves, caps, etc that they could donate to the kids in Ward 7 and 8.
It is enlightening to read about Officer Medina’s efforts. And, combined with the opening of our Nats Youth Baseball Academy later this year, it will be terrific to see baseball being played regularly by the deserving youngsters in DC’s most impoverished neighborhoods. And, it will be great to see some of these youngsters go on to college and to established working careers, much like Officer Medina.