Xavier had high hopes of joining the baseball team at the beginning of his 7th grade year, but the program’s launch was in jeopardy.
Located in Philadelphia, baseball at Middle Years Alternative for the Arts and Humanities was underfunded and had been placed on a wait list for approval to be able to field a team.
The school had been active in creating as many sports programs as possible to offer students in the urban Philadelphia neighborhood.
“Middle Years Athletics are not offered a lot of support with finances, uniforms, etc.,” said Special Education Liaison Ivey Welshans. “We work really hard as an athletic department to provide opportunities.”
This is a grassroots effort, aided by bake sales and other fundraising, which provided the school’s soccer, softball, flag football, volleyball, track & field, basketball, and golf programs.
Many students, including Xavier, were disappointed that baseball would not have enough funding.
Athletic Director Fadil Doctry said the school became aware of Pitch In For Baseball & Softball as a possible avenue for assistance prior to the 2018-19 school year, and took advantage of the opportunity to launch their baseball program. They completed the application process, received equipment, and were approved by the district to field a team in 2019.
Doctry said Xavier had been a quiet student during his first few years at the school, but he was the first to sign up.
“He immediately became more active in school activities,” Doctry said.
Xavier’s attendance, grades, and behavior all improved within a matter of months.
“Once on the team, he did not miss one practice and took on a leadership role as captain of the MYA baseball team.
“He ended the season winning the team’s MVP award, but most importantly found a sport that helped him to improve his academic, emotional, and overall social experience in middle school.”
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