All signs point to lack of opportunity as the largest deficit for children in poverty. My students embody this lack of opportunity. Many of their suburban counterparts have been able to try many different activities to keep out of trouble, but my students have never had a chance to learn sports.
My high school students have all the prerequisites of a urban high schooler - poverty at home and in their community, shaky home lives, and lack of positive role models or activities to keep them interested.
85% of my students have free or reduced lunch, and most have never played organized athletics.
My students have requested to start a baseball team. Our athletic department has very little in the way of resources, but my kids want nothing more than the ability to go to the park across the street and learn how to run the bases, hit the ball, and enjoy being a kid. I have also seen first had how sports benefit my children's learning. As their science teacher, I see how much more they try in school when they have motivation to keep their grades up, and when they have a responsibility to their teammates to succeed in every facet.
My request is for the basics of starting a baseball team. The park across the street from our school is waiting to be used for baseball - its spacious green grass is perfect for a diamond, and it has already been approved. I need the bare minimum necessary to start a high school baseball team. This means a bat, gloves, baseballs, catcher's gear, bases, and helmets. Many kids in the suburbs have these provided by their school or by their parents. For my kids, this is not an option. With this equipment, my students will be able to start the first baseball team in my school's history, something that 15 young men are already buzzing about. They will also be relied on to show responsibility and commitment to a goal. Sport's teams have so many valuable life lessons, that teaching physics just cannot provide.
In addition to providing opportunities for positive activities in my children's lives, a baseball team is also valuable for the development of a community.
It will be great for the community to gather around a team, watch the games, and support their children. Baseball is a cultural piece of art in America. I look forward to giving my students an opportunity to be inspired in their studies, and a positive outlet for their development.
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