JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – For the first time in more than a decade baseball is back at the MLK Center in Jackson.
“When we give kids a chance we’ll be surprised to see how much they take advantage of that and it’s our job to give them a chance,” said Martin Luther King Jr. Center Director. Antonio Parker.
Parker played on these same fields 20 years ago, but right now he says there’s a common challenge for kids in the community.
“It’s a lack of resources and there is a lack of you know right now we have the southwest little league and kids have a hard time in this community getting over to that side of town and so I think it’s my job and I think it’s the job of Jackson public schools and the rec department to provide those resources to kids. You know give it to them in their own backyard.”
That’s what today was all about. More than 60 kids showed up to learn and grow their love of an old pastime. It’s something the head coach of the Jackson high school baseball team Chris Hoover says its part of a push to get kids more active.
“Get them outside, just in motion and baseball is a great tool for teaching life lessons and getting kids you know engaged and building teamwork and comradery and sportsmanship and sacrifice and discipline. It’s just a mode for teaching all sorts of great life lessons,” said Hoover.
For a community that’s seen a recent spike in gun violence, Parker hopes today is just the start to giving kids in Jackson a green light to a better future.
“How do you deal with it when adversity comes? You have to get good grades on your test, you have to do and listen at home and follow directions, you have to do your homework. How do you deal with those things and for us just making sure that we provide those opportunities for kids.
Thanks to a great turnout the program hopes to turn camps like these into a full-on fall league.