I conduct research on baseball at the local level in the Dominican Republic. I also collect donations of baseball and softball gear for the people with whom I work.
This post is a big shout out to those who generously donated gear to my ongoing drive. I want to take a moment to introduce a community your donations impact: Club Juan Alberto Ozoria in Boca Chica.
Juan Alberto Ozoria: Sport, Culture, and Recreation Club is a community center, like the YMCA. In baseball programming, it works a lot like US Little Leagues. Unlike them, it has no backing. Club Ozoria receives little financial assistance from the federal government.
What, you say? Baseball is so big in the Dominican Republic that the government must want to subsidize the growth of ballplayers. And Boca Chica is a hub of MLB activity, with 14 player development academies located in or around it, so much money must come in from Major League Baseball. That’s crazy!
Indeed. It is crazy. The state does not reinvest in its baseball future. Not much MLB money trickles down to the community level. That’s why your donations are so important.
It’s hard to hold practice when 45 kids share the gear held in one duffel bag. It’s hard to work on hitting when balls and bats are dead. It’s hard to field and run without cleats. You really gotta get creative to make it work.
Beyond the ballfield, Boca Chica struggles as well. International sex tourism brings all kinds of nasty to the town. Extreme national economic restructuring makes poor people poorer. Together they make informal work around tourism tempting. That would be the sex, but not limited to it.
To counteract the situation, my friends at Club Ozoria fight the good fight to teach and to exemplify what is of value in this world beyond the quick buck. They do that through ball. And they do it for free.
Trainers are volunteers. Two, Luís Hernández and Willi Martínez, train full-time for free. No pay, no insurance, no security. Nada. They give of themselves to make a difference in the live of others and toward the betterment of the community.
Your generous donations help them keep kids off the street and away from drugs, prostitution, and other kinds of delincuencia (delinquency, crime). Your donations help boys and girls develop their talents, learn social skills, adopt new tools for living, and cultivate a solid sense of self and responsibility to others.
All of these open the door to a better future for them—as ballplayers and as humans.
Giving to others is a way of life for my friends at Club Ozoria. Your giving to them is a big deal. The ballplayers thank you. Club Juan Alberto Ozoria thanks you. The community of Boca Chica thanks you. I thank you.
E. B. Gallardo