Attorney General Bob McDonnell and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation today hosted a baseball clinic in Richmond, as part of their “Badges for Baseball” partnership.
More than 100 local youth from Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, the Richmond City after school program “Team Up Richmond,” and the Richmond Gang Reduction Intervention Program (G.R.I.P.) participated in a unique youth baseball clinic hosted by the Ripken Foundation staff, law enforcement officers, and local high school and college players and coaches.
This is the second stop in the Ripken Foundation’s 17-city “2008 Play Ball Tour for Kids.” The clinic ran from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Benedictine High School baseball complex.
The Attorney General addressed the participants and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“‘Badges for Baseball’ is the kind of proactive, community building program that we need more of in Virginia,” McDonnell said. “These young people are not only enjoying a baseball clinic, they are learning the lessons that are key to a great life. Through this program, they are learning the game of baseball. But, far more importantly, they are also developing character and learning the lifelong lessons of integrity, sportsmanship and leadership. These young participants become more comfortable with law enforcement officers, and begin to see them as friends and neighbors.”
McDonnell continued, “I strongly support, and our office has partnered with, community-based intervention and prevention programs aimed at building character, like ‘Badges for Baseball,’ G.R.I.P., Boys & Girls Clubs and other innovative initiatives. These programs work. Every child in Virginia deserves the opportunity to succeed. When young people take advantage of these opportunities, our entire Commonwealth benefits.”
“We’re very excited to be in Richmond for the second stop on the ‘Play Ball Tour for Kids,’ and we’re honored that Attorney General McDonnell has joined us,” said Chuck Brady, Deputy Executive Director of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “With the Attorney General’s leadership and the help of the Virginia State Police Association and other Law Enforcement Agencies, we are able to bring the ‘Badges for Baseball’ program to thousands of Virginia youth.”
In 2007 the Ripken Foundation, in conjunction with the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, launched the Virginia “Badges for Baseball” program. This community crime prevention model uses baseball, softball and “Quickball” to prevent juvenile delinquency and crime by providing healthy out-of-school activities. The program improves relationships between law enforcement and youth by pairing law enforcement professionals as mentors and coaches with community young people.
“Badges for Baseball” was implemented in communities across Virginia, including: Richmond, Petersburg, Norfolk, Newport News, Hampton, Gloucester, Mathews, Danville, Lynchburg, Warrenton, Winchester, Harrisonburg, Bristol, Emporia, Fort Monroe, Quantico and Langley AFB. This year, “Badges for Baseball” is expanding its reach across Virginia and will be implemented in new communities, including: Stafford County, Norfolk, Spotsylvania County, Bristol, Fauquier, Lynchburg and Danville.
Virginia’s program is the first statewide “Badges for Baseball.” The program is expanding to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Texas.
Last year, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation provided $240,000 in funding and equipment to assist with the implementation of “Badges for Baseball” statewide. Law enforcement partners include the Virginia State Police Association, Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, U.S. Marshal Service, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (N.O.B.L.E), and many local police departments throughout Virginia.
For more on Attorney General McDonnell’s partnership with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and “Badges for Baseball,” click here.
Cross-posted at SixtyFour81.com