Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s John Will Anderson Club in Gary discovered the love for baseball is alive and well in Northwest Indiana! Prior to the start of summer programming, Home Field Advantage Foundation partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s John Will Anderson Club with the goal of offering youth, residing in Gary, the opportunity to learn, play and love baseball. Equipment to help start the league was received through Major League Baseball through the efforts of Lloyd McClendon, a Gary Roosevelt product and current coach for the Detroit Tigers.
“Home Field Advantage’s commitment is to help grow the game of baseball along with building the youth of Gary’s participation. The RailCats and Home Field Advantage is based here in Gary and a partnership with John Will Anderson Club on this endeavor was a natural fit,” claims Brian Lyter, General Manager of the Gary SouthShore RailCats and Home Field Advantage Foundation Board Member.
While funding from the Foundation helped to anchor a summer baseball league at the John Will Anderson Club, employees soon recognized that many Club members did not have baseball equipment of their own. To ensure that their baseball experience was a memorable one, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana placed a social media post asking for people to donate some baseball items to the Club.
“From that simple social media post, support for our Gary Club’s summer baseball league program just exploded,” states Mark Jones, chief operation officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana. “We had organizations like Federal Express call us, BSN sports that donated so much new equipment for the summer league program, Ron Stone who donated personally to ensure every youth that participated received their own baseball glove at the end of the season, and so many more people. In fact, we had one father donate a handful of new baseball gloves. He told us when he saw our social media post, he asked his family to purchase new baseball gloves for Father’s Day so he could give them to our Club members in turn.”
In addition, Gary native and former professional baseball relief pitcher, LaTroy Hawkins, also contributed to the league citing the importance of baseball in areas such as Gary, Indiana. Club Director, Rose Joiner, was more than pleased to give Gary Club members an opportunity to learn and play baseball. She was even more excited to provide all league players with a new baseball glove at their Club’s end of the summer celebration. “Our kids deserve the best,” states Ms. Joiner. “I was thrilled that so many people came together to make sure our Club members could play baseball this summer. I also want to thank all of our volunteers and Coach Monroe who made sure our kids were coached correctly and learned the fundamentals of baseball.”
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has been opening doors to GREAT FUTURES for Porter and Lake County youth for 63 years! Clubs are open after school and provide great places for youth in grades K-12 to meet friends and have fun while in a safe, supervised environment. Clubs are open during holidays and in the summer. Annual membership is only $35.00. For information on membership, volunteer opportunities, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact your local Club by calling (219) 464-7282 or visiting bgcgreaternwi.org. Great Futures Start HERE.