Yahziel - Puerto Rico
Yahziel started playing baseball in 2018. His parents were a little cautious about letting him play - when he was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, speech difficulty, and moderate autism disorder. His uncle encouraged them to give him the opportunity to get involved in sports. Since then he has made great progress and has gained a lot of confidence in himself. Now he is one of the best players for Gino Vega Little League and the team’s closer. His teammates look up to him not only because of his abilities but because of the way he treats and respects others.
Michaela, Nice, and Alyka - Philippines
Michaela, Nice, and Alyka were not interested in softball during their first year of high school. When they heard the team needed additional players, they decided to try out and made the team! They bring a positive attitude to the field each day and the game taught them discipline. All of the girls focus on their studies, resulting in increased attendance and grades at school. They lead the team in character development and punctuality in practice.
Madisynn - Kimmell, Indiana
Over the past several years, the Kimmell Baseball/Softball league has only had the budget for one softball team. In 2018, they had an overwhelming interest in the softball program with 23 girls coming out for the team, including Madisynn. Because of the donation from PIFBS, Kimmell Softball was able to shift funds around allowing them to purchase what they needed to form an additional team. Madisynn, along with a handful of other girls, got to play softball for the first time and their coaches say they are all loving the game.
Christopher, Yanelis, and Kevin - Philadelphia, PA
After immigrating to Philadelphia from the Dominican Republic, Christopher, Yanelis, and Kevin found that even though they didn’t speak the same language, what they had in common with their new peers was their love of baseball. The donation from PIFBS enabled all of the boys to have the gear they needed to play ball. Their experience playing on the team has helped them learn English and feel connected to the team and feel a sense of community.
Glenmore - Jamaica
At the beginning of the season, Glenmore had never picked up a baseball before. He joined the RuJohn Foundation in 2018 to try it out and have fun. Glenmore picked up the sport very quickly, becoming a standout shortstop and even earning the title of MVP at one of the clinics that the RuJohn Foundation hosts each year. Being able to learn the game with the proper equipment made a lasting impact on all of the children as it is hard to come by in Jamaica.
Mariana & Luisa - Colombia
Mariana and Luisa have faced great adversity in their lives. Each girl is raised by her mother, and it's a challenge to make ends meet. Both girls began selling candy in the streets at a young age to help provide for their families. After a local league received gear from PIFBS, Mariana and Luisa decided to play. The girls fell in love with the sport and are now able to spend time off the streets playing baseball, learning life values, having fun, and enjoying their childhood.
Daisy - Philippines
Although Daisy was voted captain at the beginning of the season, it was her first time serving in a leadership role and at times she felt shy and uncertain of her ability. Daisy worked hard throughout the season to improve her pitching and leadership skills. When asked about what softball did for her confidence Daisy said, “I felt proud of myself because at first I was so afraid to make a mistake but I overcame my fears and that made me feel good about myself”.
Victoria - Chicago
After moving to a new school and neighborhood as a freshman in high school, Victoria was understandably more shy and reserved. When she decided to go out for the softball team, her personality began to show through and she opened up on the softball field and in the classroom. Victoria became one of the starting pitchers on the team where her coach said she likely would not have been able to join the program if they couldn't have supplied her with the gear to play.