13WMAZ wants your help making a difference!
14-year-olds Shikerria Coleman and Akishi Pertillo say playing the game of softball is a lot of fun.
“It's nice to come out here and play with other people because maybe other people aren't from down here, aren't from Macon, might come from different places just to play with us and have fun, laugh, and correct each other, just come out and play,” Pertillo said during practice on Tuesday night.
The girls are in the Macon Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities or RBI Program.
The program gives kids donated equipment and lets them play baseball and softball without expensive registration fees.
It's a local chapter of an international Major League Baseball effort to encourage kids, normally without the financial ability, get a chance to experience the game and other opportunities they might not have otherwise.
Jeff Battcher started the program 5 years ago and says it's about more than balls and strikes.
“12 of our kids got to the RBI All Star Week celebration in Cincinnati. None of those 12 young men had ever been on a plane before in their lives or ever been outside the city of Macon. And a grandmother came up to me later on and said you know, 'my grandson now thinks he may want to go to college.' You know because they stayed at a local college,” Battcher said.
He says they've helped an average of 325 kids each year in the program's first four here in Macon.
“The end game is number one, to get them doing an activity during the summer so they can have the opportunity to get college scholarships, maybe play major league baseball. But there's a lot of educational opportunities as well through this program. This past year a young woman named Sasha Norman got a $20,000 scholarship from the Major League Baseball foundation,” Battcher said.
Coleman and Pertillo's coach, Bernard Snell, says the game is a teaching tool.
“We try to instill in our girls a sense of pride and dignity and respect. It's about more than-- not only girls, but the boys' program as well. It's not only about baseball, baseball and softball is just a vehicle in which we use to try to motivate these young people,” Snell said before practice.
He has coached youth baseball and softball for roughly 25 years and says getting involved in the RBI program has been great. Snell says when the kids think they look good, they feel good and more confident.
So help them make a catch, swing a bat, and make a difference.
You can bring any new or gently used sports equipment to donate to the RBI Program on Saturday, October 28th from 8:00a.m. to 11:00a.m.
There is a Macon location and a Warner Robins location.
In Macon, go to the parking lot of the William S. Hutchings Career Center at 2011 Riverside Drive.
In Warner Robins, go to the parking lot of the VECTR Center at 1001 Armed Forces Boulevard.
Specifically, they need bats, catcher’s gear, helmets, and cleats.
Battcher says other sports equipment, besides baseball and softball, will be donated to the Housing Authority and Boys & Girls Clubs.
This isn’t the only way we’re trying to make a difference on Saturday! Click here for additional details.