WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) announced today a $2.5 million dollar grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation in Baltimore County, Maryland. The grant funding will be used nationwide to support Badges for Baseball program, an initiative that pairs at-risk youth with civilian, law enforcement, public safety, and military mentors in afterschool baseball and softball programs. The program combines character education with healthy activity, while engaging volunteers and law enforcement officers as mentors to foster positive relationships between youth and police.
“Badges for Baseball is an innovative approach to helping Baltimore’s at-risk youth that has a strong federal partner backing it up to support our young Marylanders,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “Positive mentors and a positive environment is the perfect recipe for helping these kids stay engaged and motivated – and this program provides both. It makes me proud to see Baltimore come together to help improve our children’s lives.”
“When you’re young, having a positive role model can go a long way,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees. “This program not only helps motivate kids, but also brings our communities closer together. I can’t imagine a better use of our national pastime than teaching our kids and strengthening our community, and I will continue working to protect programs like these that impact Maryland in creative and positive ways.”
The Badges for Baseball Program was created by the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice as a juvenile crime prevention initiative. Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, it is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, working throughout the country with local organizations and schools serving America’s most distressed communities.