For me, baseball is more than just a sport, and it was more than just my way to make a living. Baseball has always and will always flood my mind with memories of my parents and the childhood I had. For me, baseball was a way I connected with both of my parents, and it allowed me to experience being a kid and making friends without a care in the world.
When I decided to partner with Foster Arizona to put on a baseball clinic for kids in foster care, my goal was simple. I wanted to spark an interest for kids to learn a new sport they may have never been able to learn to play and I wanted it to be an escape from their circumstances. The goal was to create a space where they could just enjoy being a kid, worry-free, just as I still feel whenever I’m back on a baseball field.
It was amazing to see the impact this clinic had on the kids. They were able to see talent they never knew they had which, in turn, built their confidence and empowered them to see their potential. For me, the part that impacted me most in the whole clinic was watching each coach be an example to the young men and pour into them in more ways than just coaching them in baseball. These coaches were able to encourage them in life and show the kids that they are worthy of people’s time, love, and attention.
Each coach was directly impacted as well. The reality of what the kids live through every day allowed each of us to see how much they need all the encouragement and support we can give. It allowed us to see just how fortunate we are to have the homes and parents we do. It allowed each of us to take a step back and realize that we all started with a passion for this sport and, with the support of our parents, our dreams were able to become a reality. It sparked something inside all of us to know we can make a difference in the lives of children in foster care, even if we can’t take a child directly into our homes.
We can all make a difference by choosing to use what we have or what we are passionate about to do so and to give the inspiration these kids so desperately need. I believe it is crucial to pour into this generation of kids—if not us, who will do it? Something as simple as a passion for baseball can help kids be encouraged and feel empowered to make their dreams a reality. Everyone can directly impact those in foster care, and that’s my greatest desire—to see each individual take ownership and love on these kids in any capacity they can.
Former MLB Pitcher
See Ken’s personal story here