Thanks to the continued funding and support from Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and the Mississippi Department of Human Services, approximately 125 youth from various Mississippi Badges for Baseball program communities and their adult mentors will join the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to celebrate the culmination of yet another Badges for Baseball program year at a Mississippi Braves game. Prior to the game, one youth and adult mentor will have the honor of throwing out the game’s ceremonial first pitch.
Badges for Baseball is a juvenile crime prevention program created by the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s a simple concept: pair police and children together to play and learn. The program reshapes the relationship between law enforcement and children in communities across the country. Since adopting the program in 2011, Badges for Baseball programing has impacted more than 4,800 youth in Mississippi, having impacted 1,607 youth in 2014 alone. So far in 2015, the Badges for Baseball programming has directly impacted 1,119 youth in Mississippi with participation from more than 50 law enforcement and adult mentors.
For the last 14 years, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has worked tirelessly to implement youth development programs that directly address the problems facing at-risk youth in distressed circumstances across the country. Inspired by one of the most iconic baseball families, the Ripken’s created the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to honor the legacy of its family patriarch, longtime coach, and mentor, Cal Ripken, Sr. The Ripken Foundation use sports-themed programs to bring police officers, youth partners and underserved kids ages 8 to 14 together on a level playing field to learn invaluable life skills.
In addition, the Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multi-purpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. In just four years, the Ripken Foundation has created 49 completed parks (8 of which are Ability Fields for children with Special Needs) in 15 different states, impacting over 220,000 kids annually. In 2015, the Ripken Foundation aims to impact over 1 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Parks and programs.