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Baseball gear collected for Nicaraguan youths

Grandview, Regis high school families join in support of project


A capital “G” should be used when describing the generosity of the Grandview High School families, players and alumni who dropped off used baseball gear that will be donated to schools in northern Nicaragua, with help from people associated with Regis High School.

Molly Kitashima, wife of Wolves assistant baseball coach Matt Kitashima, helped organize the June 28 event.

“Our friend Bob Moore told us about the work Casa Unida Foundation is doing in northern Nicaragua, the rising popularity of baseball and the fact the government provides no money to schools to buy equipment for their teams,” Centennial resident Kitashima said. “We decided to try to help the foundation by asking for donations of used equipment. Most of our players live near here in Centennial and we notified everyone in our baseball family about the project we held at the high school today. Also, since our team is playing Regis today, we invited them to participate too. The response is amazing.”

The donated equipment was spread out on the grass near the Grandview High School entrance. The line of donated bats grew to more than 200 and more than 150 gloves of every size and color covered a sizable section of the grassy area. Also, hundreds of new and used baseballs were donated along with a large number of pairs of cleats, uniforms, batting helmets and bases. Even a couple of baseball scorebooks were donated.

Moore, president of the foundation, said he never expected so many people would respond and donate so much equipment, and he thanked everyone for their generosity.

“Baseball is replacing soccer as Nicaragua’s number one sport,” the Lakewood resident said. “Schools get no government money for sports or physical education equipment, and in the area where we work in northern Nicaragua, most families make about $3 a day and can’t afford to buy equipment for the kids. But the kids still play the game by using rolled-up socks for balls and boards for bats. We decided to try to help provide schools with equipment. We go on trips twice a year and take as much equipment as possible with us on each trip.”

He said the all-volunteer foundation donation to a school includes the bats, balls, gloves, catcher gear and batting helmets to needed to equip a team. The equipment belongs to the school and isn’t given to individual players. The foundation has equipped nine schools so far and plans to take equipment for three more schools when the team goes to Nicaragua in mid-July.

Baseball equipment is only one aspect of the humanitarian work the foundation does. In mid-July members of the team will begin construction of a community building in a small village called Rodeo. They also will be delivering ceramic filter systems to families in remote villages who have no access to clean drinking water.

The result of the June 28 effort was far beyond expectations. A steady parade of cars driven by representatives of both schools pulled up to drop off equipment.

Derek Schroeder added some items to the equipment donation collection.

“It feels good to help some kids in Nicaragua have equipment to play baseball,” the 17-year-old Grandview player said. “The bats and gloves we brought were ones we used to use and were just sitting in the garage. It is incredible that we can donate the equipment to help Nicaraguan kids play baseball.”

His twin brother Dillon agreed.

“We get new gear and just leave the old gear lying around,” the Centennial resident said. “Now this equipment will do some good by helping kids play the game we like so much.”

Regis families and players also dropped off donations.

“We got an email from our coach about this event and wanted to help,” Regis player Luke Galan said. “I am happy we can help with this project. These are items we don’t use anymore and it is great to be able to have them be used again to play baseball.”

“This is wonderful,” Kitashima said. “We hoped we would get quite a few items but I am amazed that so many people came and donated equipment. I feel it is great to help our kids learn about the joy of giving to help people they will never meet. It is special for all our players because they know their donations will help Nicaraguan kids have the equipment to play the game of baseball.”


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