LES Sports Academy Joins Major League Baseball’s Jr. RBI Program
This past weekend, we headed over to East River Park, where the Lower East Side Sports Academy’s spring baseball league was in full swing. The three-year old organization offers affordable sports programs for kids in under-served communities. Frank Alameda, LES Sports Academy’s founder, shared the news that the group has just been certified in Major League Baseball’s Jr. RBI Program, which aims to promote youth leagues in urban areas. The milestone will be celebrated this coming Saturday at Baruch Field (more on that in a moment).
Alameda grew up on the Lower East Side and still lives in the neighborhood. For the last few years, he’s been working in the sports division of Manhattan Youth on the West Side. Alameda said he has a huge passion for bringing organized sports to the LES, where, in his view, too many kids aren’t as active as they should be, aren’t exposed to positive role models and aren’t learning about healthy lifestyles. LES Sports Academy is meant to “get them moving.” A lot of young people in low income households, he said, have some cathing up to do when it comes to organized sports. “We take those kids who don’t know how to put on that glove and teach them how to put it on so they can at least play the game and enjoy it,” he explained.
Eileen Goris, a longtime LES resident who’s handling public relations, said the organization is growing quickly. There are now more than 150 kids in the baseball program, double the enrolment from a year ago. Parents, she said, have responded in a big way and are helping out any way they can. “They’re grateful and they want to give back,” Goris added. But it’s still a shoestring operation, and handling the increased interest from families has not been easy. This weekend’s event is part of a new push for publicity and for funding from private and public sources. The top contributors so far have been Good Old Lower East Side, the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and music industry manager Johnny Marines.
The Lower East Side Sports Academy’s 2013 MLB Pitch, Hit and Run competition takes place Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Baruch Field, 50 Baruch Place. Tom Brausell, vice president of community affairs at Major League Baseball and Johnny Marines, manager of the popular music group Aventura and Romeo Santos, will throw out the first pitch.
Click here for more info about the LES Sports Academy.