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 not safe places for us to practice.
Our reality has never dampened our players' spirits.
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 to restock for the upcoming season. To improve our hitting, we are asking for a pitching machine that can also give the kids ground and fly balls. We have also included a catcher's mitt to replace the worn and rip one from last season. 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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