A couple days ago we posted a blog highlighting the work TRP is doing through baseball. If you missed it, go ahead and take a peek at what we wrote here. Since starting baseball programs in Gulu there are many days that we have felt like we are batting .1000 and that this tool we have tapped (baseball) could unlock so much potential in the youth of Northern Uganda. But during the hard days, it feels like we are taking our best swing, with all of our power, and instead of a home run the ball deflects off the bat forcing us to, at best, eek out a bunt single. There are challenges, and sometimes those challenges seem huge:
- TRP owns 30 baseball gloves (remember, we work with over 500 kids every year!) that Coach Mike guards with his life. They are about 3 years old and get used every single day. The rest of our equipment is also rather inadequate and overused. When we do find people who want to donate equipment, the cost of getting it to Uganda is so prohibitive we usually can’t get it anyway!
- Speaking of Coach Mike: he is the number one reason why baseball continues to thrive in the North (you can read about him here). This guy works with passion, joy and gratitude. Because of this we would really, really like to compensate him more than we already do. Not to mention, with the amount of kids who want to play ball in northern Uganda, there is enough work to employ THREE more Mikes! If only we had the funds!
- The effects of a 20 year civil war are still prevalent, evident in stories like this one. TRP is in the final stages of designing a curriculum to help shift a cultural and mental mindset of poverty and “I Can’t” to “I Can”. With a curriculum that turns lessons learned on the field into holistic life learning opportunities, we hope to see long-lasting change, both on and off the field. This will require more time from our current US-based team as well as additional on-the-ground support in Gulu to implement the teaching.
- In sports there is a constant need to be pushing to the next level. We are there. Our kids have developed a good understanding of baseball fundamentals so in the next year our goal is to find someone to work with Coach Mike (stateside) on how we can take the next steps on our ballfields.
- Most of the support staff for TRP baseball are volunteers who work full time jobs, raise kids, and have other extra-curricular commitments while also doing their best to support a program which takes place a thousand miles away. TRP baseball would benefit from the energy of new volunteers who would be willing to give their time .
To help us meet these needs, our goal is to mobilize some additional tangible support by the end of this year’s Little League World Series. Currently, we run our baseball programs on$15,000 annually. To hit a ‘home run’ with baseball funding, and fully address the needs above, we would need $60,000 annually. To start to chip away at that number, this is our goal for the next 10 days:
- We would like to challenge just 10 people to donate 50 dollars a month.
- We want to find two volunteers to donate their time. We would like one volunteer to train with Coach Mike on baseball development remotely via phone/skype calls a few times a month. We would like another volunteer to support the team stateside helping us tell our story to a wider audience in the US.
In the last blog, we shared a video of Uganda’s first home run in the Little League World Series in 2012 . This seemingly instant life-making moment actually took a lot of time, hard work, and resources. Regarding this, Kevin Carroll says:
“Each day contains 86,400 seconds, that’s 86,400 opportunities to chase, kick, catch, and run after your red rubber ball. Pursuit must become your daily routine, not a New Year’s resolution once a year sport. It is a constant exercise in listening, learning, preparing, and acting.”
Today, we are asking YOU to join our team. While we understand that most of you already squeeze the life out of those 86,400 seconds each day, if you do happen to have a few spare moments or dollars and you’d like to do something significant with them, we know you will not regret giving them to the beautiful kids in northern Uganda. In return, we promise you they will do their part to maximize the day.