Our school, located in the South Bronx, is in the poorest Congressional district, where funding for extracurricular activities has been an afterthought for quite some time. Our students compete on the baseball team every year, yearning for a safe, fun, and productive way to spend their free time.
As the school is in the heart of the South Bronx, space is nearly nonexistent, and the parks around are, quite frankly, not safe for us to practice at.
However, our reality has never dampened our players' spirits, as each one floods to my classroom every day, at three, ready for practice. Our options are the basketball gym, which we share with two other schools or our horseshoe-shaped concrete recess area behind the school building. Although the only times we played on an actual baseball diamond were for our games, the team played with fierce tenacity, never making excuses.
After a long but successful season, our team needs the basics to get started again next year. That means bats in a variety of sizes. We have included some hitting aids that helped our students this past season. The baseball bat grips designed to help our young players hit without the sting of wooden bats. This should translate into greater success in games. When the players have gear and equipment we stay out for hours. The hitting equipment will be used to develop our players' skills, despite the disadvantages of our physical environment or resources. The students put in maximum effort, but we do not have the equipment necessary to address the basic component of the game. This project aims to address our need to provide students with a productive after-school experience.
As most of the students are immigrants or children of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, baseball provides them with an opportunity to see connections between American and Dominican culture.
Teachers have also seen the undeniable, and positive, effect baseball has had on the academic performance of our players. Our kids love to play.
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