Exciting Updates from I Love Baseball

02/02/18

We are coming up on the 10-year anniversary of the I Love Baseball (ILB) program!

To celebrate, we wanted share some of the major ILB milestones that you made possible.


 

ILB catcher

 

The land for the ILB Field has been purchased, 100% paid for, and partially cleared!

Coach Ruddy on new land                             Coach Ruddy overseeing the bulldozing of the new land.


The field we currently use is a public park. Even though our boys work hard to keep the field maintained, the park is often littered with trash and has livestock wandering through the outfield. Because our current field is a public park it is also constantly used by other groups.

But because of the generosity of partners like you, our new field will not only provide a safe, clean place for the boys in our program to meet for Bible studies, eat meals, and practice baseball, but it will signal to other young men in the area that the ILB program is serious about helping them achieve their dreams.

By owning a baseball field that we can develop into a prime facility, the ILB program will attract youth who are most at risk in the community.

 

The field construction project has been approved and initial designs have been drawn up by local architects.

Plans for field
                 Plans showing a bird's-eye view of the new baseball field complex.


This land will be used for a clubhouse, dorms for visiting players, and a field with lights so the boys can play in the evening instead of during the school day. This investment will also be more cost-effective over time than renting and maintaining the public field.

Our hope is that this field will meet hundreds of boys and young men at the intersection of their dreams and their desperation and offer them Christ, mentorship, education, and a future full of hope and light.


ILB player reading Bible


After an amazing seven years of fundraising, planning, and praying, God is using partners like you to make this vision a reality. Wow. Just wow. We now have 7.44 acres in a good location in Barahona to build a baseball field and complex that will minister to boys and young men looking for a way out of poverty.

 

Our application for partnership with Construction for Change has been approved!

Construction for Change is providing two project managers, who will be arriving on site February 18! We're so grateful have them help us meet our goal of breaking ground on March 19.

Ball in field


The first phase of the project is building the baseball field, home and visitor dugouts, restrooms, an office, the kitchen, and a foundation for grandstands, including the first three rows of seating.

Partners like you have already provided funds for this stage of development, but we still need more help to fully reach our goal.
 

 

Salomón Trinidad Pérez graduated from medical school.

Salomon prepping for the OR



Salomón, one of the first boys in our ILB program, has graduated from medical school!

This is a major accomplishment anywhere, but especially for an impoverished young man in the Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic, sports agents known as buscones prey on boys and their families by promising them a shot at getting signed to a major league farm team if they drop out school and train with them. They offer them baseball training, food, transportation, and sometimes even a place to live.

Many young boys believe this will be their ticket out of poverty. But in reality, buscones often ruin their players’ health by pushing them too hard in training and even encouraging them to use steroids. Less than 1 percent of boys get signed to a farm team, and when they do, the buscones take exorbitant percentage cuts of their signing bonuses. Thousands of Dominican boys drop out of school every year to pursue the dream of professional baseball but are exploited by buscones and end up at the age of 18 or 19 with no baseball contract, no education, and no job skills.

Young Salomon
          Without your support, young Salomón could have dropped out of school.


ILB was started to address this issue—the program provides breakfast and lunch five days a week, pairs boys up with a Christian mentor, and gives them high quality baseball training while requiring them to stay in school and maintain a “B” average.

Salomón’s journey is a testament to how well this program works. He is a young man who did not drop out of school and end up with no baseball contract and no hope and no future—but instead got a chance to pursue his dream of baseball, and when that didn’t work out, ended up a fully-fledged medical doctor!


Salomon in the US
In 2017, Salomón traveled to the US to share about his experiences with ILB supporters.


We are so excited to see more young men like Salomón embrace their passion for baseball and grow up with the tools they need to transform their lives and their nation.

ILB group photo

 

These young men have come a long way, thanks to you, and you can help them go even further! Let’s use the sport of baseball to share the love of Christ and to teach them how to be responsible men, value their education, and pursue their dreams.