Lena Klevin started the season with a glove that was too small for her and had seen better days. When Washburn High School in Minnesota received a donation of softball gear this season from PIFB, Lena was able to get a brand new glove. Having a glove that fit her allowed Lena to improve greatly throughout the season, leading her to be voted “Most Outstanding Defensive Player”.
Last year, Joel continuously cut class to fight on the streets. When he joined the baseball team, he was able to turn his attention not only towards the team, but to academics and helping to teach younger children the game of baseball. His attendance and grades have significantly increased as a result of playing ball.
Washburn HS Softball
With PIFB’s help, Washburn HS has been able to steadily grow the program. For 2017, Washburn strengthened the existing program. PIFB donated new helmets, catchers gear, and gloves, enabling all girls who wanted to play to make the team. Washburn HS is already expecting an additional 14% budget cut for 2018. PIFB and Washburn HS will continue to partner to make softball accessible.
LA Monarch Girls Baseball, Los Angeles
When longtime baseball fan and Los Angeles native Gillian realized that the area had many girls who wanted to continue playing baseball, she formed the LA Monarchs, a girls only baseball team. With a number of girls coming from low income families, many of them struggle to pay the minimal participation fee and cannot afford equipment. PIFB was able to help with their equipment needs and keep the girls on the field.
Mariana & Luisa, Colombia
Left by their fathers at a young age, Mariana and Luisa have faced great adversity in their lives. Each having only one parent who struggle 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 PIFB, 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.
Each year, the Arizona Diamondbacks host an Inter-Tribal Youth Baseball and Softball tournaments for Native American kids ages 9-18. The Rosebud Boys & Girls Club out of the Sioux Community in South Dakota raised funds to send 15 kids, but had limited equipment and no uniforms. PIFB provided the team with gloves, uniform pants, cleats, and other needed equipment. Many of the boys had never been on a plane or even left their communities.
Nine-year-old twins, Wilfredo and Eddy have had their fair share of heartache. Shortly after moving to Ecuador with their dad, he was diagnosed with cancer and returned to the U.S. for treatment. The boys went back to Honduras. A year later, the boys returned to Ecuador with their dad. Tragically, his health declined and he passed away two months later. The boys were devastated. They lost interest in soccer (a game they played with their dad) and stuck to each other. Desperate, their mom signed them up for baseball. Baseball has revived them.
Daija, grade 7, had a chronic attendance problem. She often missed days of school at a time. It was not clear she would be able to move on to the 8th grade. When the season started, Daija was informed she would not be allowed to play on the team if she did not improve her attendance. Daija’s attendance improved dramatically. She went from missing school two to three times a week, to missing only one half day of school the entire two month season. She understood the importance of being there for her team and had found her own motivation to engage in the school community.
When Shaquana joined the Lost Boyz program, she was getting into fights regularly, had lots of office referrals at school, and challenged authority. In 2014, Lost Boyz started a fast pitch softball team to reach more girls. She wanted to play but with 8 siblings, her parents often have to prioritize expenses and could not purchase the proper gear for her to play. Softball has helped her turn it around. This year, she was MVP, team captain, and power hitter. She has a positive attitude, a B average in school, and is respectful to coaches and parents.
Orphaned at 13 after losing both parents, Leonardo, his brother and two sisters struggled to survive. Leonardo often wandered the streets alone. He had severe anemia from extreme malnutrition. While recovering, Leonardo would watch the kids playing ball. PIFB gave Leonardo the proper gear to play baseball and he has flourished. He is a team leader and wants to learn as much as he can about the art of pitching. Now he spends his time playing catch with friends instead of getting into trouble.
At the beginning of the school year, Ronaee, was on the road to dropping out. Her job was her priority. When a group of friends decided to try out for softball, she tagged along. She was told if she wanted to play, she had to get her grades up. Ronaee worked tirelessly to her grades up to be academically eligible and attended school daily. By the end of the season, she improved her GPA by 11 points and went from nearly failing to being an engaged student. Instead of dropping out, she’s succeeding academically and looking forward to next season.